Jun 1, 2021Washington budget includes $22 million for Columbia Basin irrigation projects
The State of Washington’s $6 billion capital budget included several irrigation projects supporting the Columbia Basin Project.
Funded projects include the following:
- $16 million to assist in planning, designing, engineering, development coordination and construction of pump stations or other improvements at the EL 79.2 or associated stations serving the same area that expand the delivery systems of the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program (OGWRP), sufficient to irrigate at least 13,000 acres.
- $400,000 to assist the Grant County conservation district in applying for support from the United States department of agriculture-natural resource conservation service to secure federal funding for surface water delivery systems on the Columbia Basin Project.
- $150,000 for improvements at EL 85, including radial arm gates.
- $5 million for the continued development and building of the EL 22.1 OGWRP surface water irrigation system including a canal pump station, an electrical power substation, booster pump stations and a large diameter full-sized pipeline sufficient to irrigate 16,000 acres.
- The City of Othello also received $515,000 from the infrastructure fund for a long-term project to conserve water and to find ways to increase the city’s water supply. The project is in its second phase, with the goal of using outside water, in this case from an East Columbia Basin Irrigation District Canal, to help replenish the city’s aquifer.
Drought advisory issued for most of Washington
Following an extremely dry couple months, the Department of Ecology has issued a drought advisory for most of Washington state, including all areas east of the Cascade Mountains, portions of Southwest Washington and the Washington coast. March through April was the fourth driest such period for Washington state since 1895. There are growing concerns for farmers and ranchers in Eastern Washington.
While Washington mountains received an above-normal snowpack this year, not all watersheds are fed by melting snow. Springtime precipitation is critical for non-irrigated crops and livestock forage. In a few basins, such as the Pend Oreille, Spokane, Walla Walla, and Snake watersheds, early snowmelt is leaving less than average water levels, and last month’s temperatures were higher than normal for most of Washington.
Counties included in the advisory are Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whitman and Yakima.
Observations and photographs of drought conditions can help the Department of Ecology assess whether to elevate state response. Observations should be submitted using the Conditions Monitoring Observation System. Water users worried their water supply is at risk of failing should contact the nearest Department of Ecology Regional Office.
— Washington State Potato Commission