Emergency funds support three drought-relief projects

Projects in Eastern, Central and Western Washington help with water shortages

OLYMPIA – August 11, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Emergency funding is going to support three drought-relief projects in Eastern, Central and Western Washington. The money will help pay for a new well in Stevens County, water conservation in Benton County, and protect spawning salmon in the Dungeness River on the Olympic Peninsula.

“We’re moving quickly to support critical water supplies for communities, farmers and fish across the state who are enduring extreme hardships in this unprecedented drought,” said Director Maia Bellon of the Washington Department of Ecology.

Ecology has approved three grants to help pay half the cost of projects that will bring much needed relief.

Stevens County Public Utility District will receive $47,000 to help drill a new well to replace the failing main production well of the Riverside Water System. The new well will help provide reliable drinking water to 385 residents. Declining groundwater levels have been reducing production from the existing well since October 2014.

Kennewick Irrigation District will receive $28,872 to help increase water conservation by 23,000 customers in Kennewick, Richland, West Richland, and incorporated Benton County. The district will advertise on TV and radio to increase awareness, and -hired a code enforcement officer to ensure compliance.

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe will receive $74,430 to monitor and address fishing stranding and/or blockages. The effort will include acquiring and installing multiple temporary “diversion dams” in the Dungeness River that will concentrate flow to help spawning salmon migrate upstream. Flows in the Dungeness River are currently 35 percent of normal and 1.3 million pink salmon are expected to return this season. The tribe is working in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The money for these projects is coming from the $16 million approved by the 2015 Legislature to use over the next two years to help relieve drought hardships statewide.

Through the grant program, public entities such as cities, public utilities and irrigation districts can get help paying for developing alternative water supplies or deepening existing groundwater wells.

Additional applications for grant funding have been received, and Ecology is working quickly to review the applications. The agency expects to fund more drought-relief projects in the coming weeks.

Gov. Jay Inslee made the entire state eligible for drought relief funding when he declared a statewide drought May 15, 2015.

Application forms and information on qualifications for drought relief grants are available on Ecology’s website: 2015 Drought Emergency Grant Program.

Contact:

Dan Partridge, communications, dan.partridge (at) ecy.wa (dot) gov, 360-407-7139, @ecologyWA

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