GSI’s team of hydrogeologist and water rights consultants helped the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) develop a water rights strategy for a groundwater permit that had previously been denied by the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD).


EWEB wanted to develop a wellfield that produced 12 million gallons per day in the City of Eugene as a peak and backup water supply for the community. The aquifer that EWEB intended to use was hydraulically connected to two rivers, and the surface water in this area is not open to appropriation during the summer months. OWRD initially denied EWEB’s groundwater permit application (prepared by another firm) because of concerns about impacts to surface water and fish.

GSI’s Solution

GSI was able to negotiate with OWRD on behalf of EWEB by using a technically-based water rights strategy that evaluated the timing and magnitude of potential surface water impacts from pumping groundwater.

Our approach included modeling the groundwater and surface water connection to determine the impact of the proposed wellfield on nearby surface water. We conducted field investigations of surface water features, analyzed the data, and interviewed senior water rights holders in the area.

As a result of our analysis, we moved several well locations so that the impact on surface water was minimized. OWRD agreed to GSI’s approach and approved the permit application at a fraction of the cost that was proposed by the other firm.

In addition to this water rights work, GSI assisted EWEB with its long-term water supply strategy, which included plans for developing a second source in case of emergencies, and collaborating with neighboring utilities to provide long-term security.