Grants help upgrade water wells, boost irrigation water for crops

Moxee’s water system, irrigation districts in Wenatchee and Cashmere to receive drought relief funding

OLYMPIA – August 24, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Emergency funding will go to support three more drought-relief projects in Central Washington. The money will help pay for upgrading two of Moxee’s municipal water wells, fund additional diversion pumps for the Lower Stemilt Irrigation District in Wenatchee, and help the Icicle Irrigation District in Cashmere draw additional water from Eight Mile Lake.

“These projects will improve a town’s water supply, and bring water just in time to help save cherries, apples and pears in this relentless drought,” said Tom Loranger, Water Resources program manager for the Washington Department of Ecology.

Ecology’s grants will help pay half the cost of each project. The projects selected were:

  • City of Moxee will receive $133,000 for replacing pumps, pipes and valves to improve production of two city wells showing a substantial drop in pumping capacity. The wells are two of three that provide water for a population of 3,784.
  • Lower Stemilt Irrigation District (LSID) in Wenatchee, which diverts water from the Columbia River and Stemilt Creek, a tributary of the Columbia, will receive $297,348 to install additional diversion pumps and booster pumps to increase the volume of water delivered to cherry orchards through existing waterlines and canals. The additional diversions from the Columbia River are necessary to compensate for reduced withdrawals from Stemilt Creek, which is running at less than 75 percent of its normal flow. LSID members are some of the largest and most productive orchard crop producers in Washington state. The Stemilt Basin contains about 4,600 acres of orchard and the additional diversions are needed to sustain 220 acres of cherry trees.
  • Icicle Irrigation District in Cashmere will receive $41,000 to use a helicopter to bring in pumping equipment and pipe needed to withdraw additional water from Eight Mile Lake.  The water will help save pear, apple and cherry orchards. The withdrawal is being done under a 1926 water right.

A total of six drought-relief projects have been approved for funding from the $16 million approved by the 2015 Legislature to use over the next two years to help relieve drought hardships statewide. On Aug. 10, grants were announced for the Stevens County Public Utility District in Eastern Washington, the Kennewick Irrigation District in Central Washington and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe on the Olympic Peninsula.

Gov. Jay Inslee made the entire state eligible for drought relief funding when he declared a statewide drought May 15. Public entities such as cities, public utilities and irrigation districts can get help paying for developing alternative water supplies or deepening existing groundwater wells.

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, 360-407-7139

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