Wash. advising 25 cities about dwindling water

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. (AP) -- A study of dwindling water supplies in 25 Eastern Washington communities shows that some of their municipal wells could go dry as soon as a decade.

State officials say the problem is not an immediate crisis but a looming one. They are working to better educate those Columbia River basin communities about the risks. The combined population in the affected areas is about 200,000 people.

The communities largely support the agriculture industry and draw water from an underground aquifer that has been in steady decline.

Paul Stoker of the Columbia Basin Groundwater Management Area says a study by the group shows that merely drilling deeper for water might not be an option in a decade, because the water won't be usable or available or will be too expensive to access.