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circular logo used by the East Columbia Basin Irrigation district with a canal full of water underneath a sun

The 2022 irrigation season has come to a close. District staff worked to be responsive to landowners while continuing to provide reliable water at a sustainable cost.

This past year brought several key milestones, including the launch of the first District website, which has allowed us to provide timely and relevant information to customers and stakeholders, the funding of the OGWRP PL-566 project, and a successful beta test of an online water ordering system, just to name a few.

Your East Columbia Basin Irrigation District team has a number of key initiatives outlined for 2023, and we look forward to providing additional updates as the season draws closer. I invite you to read on to learn more about the efforts of the ECBID team.

Best,

Craig Simpson P.E.

YEAR IN REVIEW

2022 was another productive year at the District. Several notable projects were either completed, furthered in development, or imitated. Below is a list of a few highlights from 2022 and other recent accomplishments.​
  • Delivered reliable water supply to landowners, consistently.
  • Installed a generator at Wahatis peak that provides reliable continuity of CBP SCADA and alarms during power outages. The generator self-tests with automatic start to avoid routine travel up to the site.
  • Created a District website.
  • Received, by supplementary request, an additional $175K for the EL85E Conservation pipeline.
  • Volunteered to be the sponsor for a Small Watershed Plan through NRCS.
  • Have navigated and progressed through the process of receiving a grant from the NRS and then simultaneously signed an ILA with CBCD, to perform the tasks of developing a small watershed plan. The end result will present potential funding opportunities to aid in the development of the OGWRP and decrease costs to OGWRP landowners.
  • Contracted for over 8,000 acres of new landowner system groundwater replacement. 
  • Participated in joint CBP Economic Impact Study.
  • Completed inventory of canal level sensors.
  • Updated District Rules and Regulations.
  • Converted records and payroll to electronic systems.
  • Cumulatively over 150 of miles of conservation pipelines installed.

ONLINE WATER ORDERING WILL BE AVAILABLE IN 2023

Landowners wishing to order and monitor water online will be able to do so beginning in the 2023 season. The ECBID team has been actively building and testing the online ordering system to ensure a seamless transition for customers who choose to place orders and monitor usage online. Additional information will be coming soon.

PROJECT FOCUS

ODESSA GROUNDWATER REPLACEMENT PROGRAM

The Columbia Basin Project (CBP) is the water source for thousands of farmers and some municipalities and industrial stakeholders in Central Washington. While waiting for continued development of the CBP, decades ago, the Department of Ecology issues farmers temporary permits to use ground water to irrigate over 100,000 acres. The non-renewable Odessa aquifer declined and now threatens water availability for over 180,000 people and over a dozen rural communities including Lind, Odessa, Connell, Othello, Warden, Hatton, Wilson Creek, Moses Lake, and others. Multiple partners are working together to rescue the declining aquifer and preserve it for environmental and domestic water supply purposes.

The Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Ecology Office of Columbia River, and the East Columbia Basin Irrigation District have worked together on the OGWRP since 2005.

Working within Reclamation programmatic requirements, the partners completed an environmental impact statement, feasibility analysis, engineering studies, and cost estimates. Reclamation issues a Record of Decision finding the project feasible under Reclamation criteria. ECBID constructed and is operating one of nine anticipated public distribution systems, the EL47.5 plant.

Last year, ECBID was awarded Small Watershed Program funding for development of an NRCS required OGWRP Watershed Plan/Environmental Impact Study in order to access additional NRCS funding for pump station and pipeline design and construction. ECBID is the project sponsor and will work in cooperation with the Columbia Basin Conservation District for Completion of the plan. The program requires the development of physical, environmentally, socially, and economically sound watershed project plans with actions scheduled for implementation over a specific period of years. Upon completion, the plan will be approved by the chief of NRCS and then presented for congressional approval. Project advocates are hopeful that a significant portion of planning work already accomplished will meet the criteria of the Small Watershed Plan process so development of the OGWRP watershed plan can be expedited.

FOCUS FOR 2023

EL86.4 SLATED FOR CONSTRUCTION

Construction is slated to start late next year on another system to deliver Columbia River water to Odessa Subarea farms. The EL86.4 system will be 7.4 miles long and serve 11 farms on nearly 5,400 acres. Construction cost is estimated at $13 million. The design is in the works and staff hope to have all the regulatory work done, easements acquired, and funding in place to begin construction by the end of 2023. Overall, about 100 Odessa Subarea farmers face delcining water levels in their wells. The goal is to replace the wells with water from the Columbia River.

UPCOMING DATES AND DEADLINES

WATER TURN-ON DATE: ANNOUNCED AT FEB. BOARD MEETING

  • Yearly Assessments mailed: January 15
  • Seasonal changes: Applications must be received prior to February 28
  • RRA needs to be completed prior to water delivery for blocks 47, 461, and WSCs
  • Frost control application: Must be submitted by February 28
  • ELC begins priming typically March 21-24
  • First half assessment due: April 30
  • Combinations deadline: May 31
  • Board Canidate filing opens: October 4
  • ELC begins dewatering typically Oct 21-24
  • Second half assessment due: October 31
  • Supplemental & Excess bills are sent out by mid-Nov. and due Dec. 31
  • Board Meetings: First Wednesday of every month unless changed by the Board
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