The City of Tumwater is fortunate to have an abundance of fresh water within its jurisdiction. Most of Tumwater's surface waters fall within the Deschutes Watershed. From the Deschutes River and Percival Creek to Barnes and Trosper Lakes, Tumwater's surface waters provide local beauty, habitat for wildlife, and recreation opportunities for community members.
The Deschutes River, the largest river in the Deschutes Watershed, ends its journey by flowing through Tumwater. The Deschutes flows through Pioneer Park at Henderson Blvd., through the Tumwater Valley Municipal Golf Course, over Tumwater Falls and glides by Tumwater Historical Park. It them empties into the Capitol Lake basin at the base of Budd Inlet.
The Deschutes River provides habitat for many fish and animal species, including the Chinook salmon run managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The numerous parks along the river provide ideal walking and picnic sites. A favorite summertime activity for Tumwater residents is rafting down the Deschutes River from Pioneer Park.
Percival Creek is another major water body in Tumwater. It flows from Trosper Lake north through Tumwater. It emerges from the South Puget Sound Community College campus and flows on to Capitol Lake. In the southwestern portion of Tumwater.
The largest lakes in Tumwater are Tropser and Barnes Lake. Trosper Lake sits behind Tumwater Middle School and has an extensive wetlands system surrounding it. Barnes Lake is mostly surrounded by residences. Local residents and City staff jointly manage the lake through the Barnes Lake Management District.
City staff and volunteers work hard to keep Tumwater's surface water healthy. The City implements ongoing projects involving stormwater facility upgrades, water quality monitoring, and habitat enhancement to keep Tumwater's surface waters healthy.