Environmental History 
of the Spokane River

Organizations Protecting the Aquifer

Several organizations in the Spokane area have contributed to keeping our drinking water clean and safe. Three front runners in this effort are the Spokane Aquifer Joint Board, Kootenai Environmental Alliance, and Panhandle Health District.

The Spokane Aquifer Joint Board (SAJB) is committed to providing clean drinking water to Spokane by operating wells and advocating for the cleanliness of the aquifer. It does this by sponsoring research and raising awareness about conservation and the importance of a healthy drinking supply. This is an organization that is taking direct initiative to preserve the aquifer through actions such as implementing the Wellhead Protection Plan. This plan emphasizes citizen participation in responsible chemical disposal, education, and business practices.

Kootenai Environmental Alliance (KEA) is a non-profit conservation group in the Pacific Northwest that lists successfully advocating for the Rathdrum Prairie-Spokane Valley Aquifer as one of its accomplishments. Because of its efforts, the aquifer is protected by the Idaho Department of Water Resources. The KEA also helped prevent corporations and corporations from receiving water rights. It also encourages conservation efforts and established “the only water conservation measure in the region.” These acts, in addition to several other efforts to conserve and prevent pollution, is extremely important to the history of the aquifer. Without these actions, the aquifer could be an unsafe water source for Spokane and the source could be monopolized by industries.

The Panhandle Health District (PHD) inspects and monitors the water in the Rathdrum Prairie-Spokane Valley Aquifer to ensure that it is safe for everyone in the region. Under contract from the Department of Environmental Quality, they administer the Public Water System. The PHD also has posted on its website a sheet with helpful contact information in case of a water emergency. It also includes tips on how everyone can help keep the aquifer clean.

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