Water Use

Water is needed by all living things.  Much of the water that falls on Pattee Canyon is used by plants that cover the land.  Water that is not used by plants percolates down into the groundwater and ultimately flows into Pattee Creek.  Many creatures live in the groundwater as well as the surface water (fish, aquatic insects, microscopic life).  And many plants require lots of water and so they live right beside the creek.  All the water in Pattee Canyon is in use, there is no "un-used" water.

Humans also use the water in Pattee Canyon.  They pump groundwater up from wells or divert water from the creek.  Both of these activities can reduce the flow in the creek; this is called dewatering the creek.  If the creek is severely dewatered, it cannot support its other uses, like supporting the fishery.

In Pattee Canyon, humans use surface water primarily for irrigation.  They use groundwater for drinking because the soil has filtered out sediment and disesease-causing organisms like Giardia.  However, they also use the groundwater for waste disposal.  When your septic system is too near your well, watch out!  More on  septic systems.