The long list of capital budgets covered under the recently approved Washington capital budget includes money for improvements to the Odessa Aquifer Ground Water Replacement Project. The $4 billion budget approved late last month included $15 million for the East Columbia Basin Irrigation District for the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program.
The North I-90 Odessa Aquifer Groundwater Replacement Project steering committee recently acknowledged the strong leadership of Senators Mark Schoesler and Judy Warnick as well as the support of Reps. Tom Dent, Mary Dye, Matt Manweller and Joe Schmick to help obtain the above mentioned $15 million in funding.
The purpose of the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program is to provide surface water from the Federal Columbia Basin Project (CBP) to replace groundwater from declining irrigation wells in the Odessa Subarea, reduce the risk of economic loss to the region’s agriculture sector relying on declining and/or failing groundwater wells, and provide relief to the declining water levels in the Odessa subarea aquifer.
The North I-90 Odessa Aquifer Groundwater Replacement Project (which is part of the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program) would help deep well irrigators/farmers in the declining Odessa Aquifer north of I-90 and east of Moses Lake in Washington State. The project would provide surface water from the East Columbia Basin Irrigation District’s “East Low Canal” by utilizing new canal turnouts infrastructure, new pump stations located at various locations along the Canal. This project will replace the groundwater pumping from the aquifer.
Over the past 50 years, irrigation has taken place in the Odessa Subarea Aquifer in the northern Columbia Basin of Washington. A large portion of the Subarea is located within the boundaries of the United States Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) Columbia Basin Project, with the landowners utilizing wells to irrigate their properties rather than water provided through Project facilities. Those wells have experienced serious water level declines that have adversely impacted pumping levels to the point that many wells have had to be deepened or abandoned.
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