Contract Submitted to Bring Irrigation Water to Odessa Aquifer
Odessa Aquifer deep well irrigators will privately fund/finance and build a lateral pipeline
The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Assn. (CSRIA) submitted a water service contract to the East Columbia Basin Irrigation District for System 1 of CSRIA's Privately Funded/Financed Project in which Odessa Aquifer deep well irrigators would privately fund/finance and build a lateral pipeline (System 1) east from the East Low Canal to bring surface water to the Odessa Subarea east of the Moses Lake area in Washington.
In particular, the Water Service Contract recently submitted to the East Columbia Basin Irrigation District (ECBID) would allow for the construction of a privately funded pipeline (System 1) and other improvements to deliver surface water east from the East Low Canal to about 14,000 acres of farmland north of I-90 in the Odessa Subarea by as early as 2016.
The System 1 Project pre-construction engineering has been completed and the participants have secured approved financing (with lending rates locked-in for the near term). Specifically, CSRIA has worked with Clifton Larson Allen, Key Bank, Northwest Farm Credit Services and AXA Equitable AgriFinance to put together a $40 million privately financed package that will build the System 1 infrastructure to get critically needed surface water to the farms east of Moses Lake.
With the execution of the water service contract by the ECBID, the construction and development of System 1 can begin immediately.
The delivery of water to nearly 14,000 acres north of I-90 is the first step in a plan to bring surface water irrigation to about 70,000 acres (or more) of farmland in the Odessa Subarea, both north and south of I-90. The initial development (Systems 1-4) may reach as far south of I-90 to Lind Coulee. Further development to the south (of Lind Coulee) will require additional expansion of the East Low Canal.
The CSRIA Privately Funded/Financed Project has been widely endorsed by many newspapers and decision-makers as a viable, cost-effective and realistic option to immediately begin replacing the use of groundwater from the declining Odessa Aquifer in eastern Washington. Additionally, it offers a practical and reasonable solution that can be developed in a short timeframe to begin effectively resolving the Odessa Aquifer depletion issue.
Furthermore, many legislative leaders have expressed support, and last month CSRIA presented the Project to the House Capital Budget Committee at a special work session in Olympia.