Most Columbia Water Users Agree
More than 80 percent of Mid-Columbians who use water from the Columbia River have voluntarily agreed to report their water diversions to the Washington Department of Ecology.
Ecology is trying to measure 90 percent of surface and ground water withdrawals within a mile of the Columbia River, from Bonneville Dam to the Canadian border and in the Lower Snake River below Lower Monumental Dam. The agency has allocated $1 million to help water users with the cost of buying and installing metering systems.
"Knowing how much water is being used can only help us as we face the challenges of managing water resources on the Columbia River," said Dan Haller, Columbia River unit supervisor. "We're very pleased with the cooperation we're seeing among water users and local conservation districts can take a lot of the credit for that."
The Columbia River Basin Water Supply bill, which was passed by the Legislature in 2006, requires Ecology to publish the total water use from the Columbia River in an interactive Web map beginning in June 2009.
The agency has been encouraging water users to voluntarily participate in the state program before receiving compliance orders.
So far, Ecology has collected metering information from the Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Columbia irrigators and other water users accounting for about 76 percent of the total withdrawals from the river.
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