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Commentaries and editorials

Snake Dams Not Needed to Irrigate

by Stan Kuick
Tri-City Herald, November 16, 2018

Ice Harbor dam impounds a reservoir that allows thirteen farms to pump irrigation water from a higher elevation than from the natural river, saving up to 80 feet of head and significant pumping expense. The Tri-City Herald edition from Sunday, Oct. 28, contained two pro-dam editorials from other newspapers that both stated that these dams are necessary for irrigation. This is false. The Lower Snake dams are not a requirement for irrigation or any other water draws.

Large quantities of water are drawn from the undammed area in our own Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. Going upstream from the Snyder street boat launch, there is the Richland city water intake. Go up a couple more miles, and you see a pumping station that delivers water to the Horn Rapids triangle agricultural fields. Still further up, you come to the large water intake for the Columbia Generating Station. On up to the old Hanford town site, there is an old pump house used before the Manhattan Project. The town of White Bluffs had a similar pump house. Wonder how they did this back then without dams? And how about the water used by the Manhattan Project reactors?

If the dams were removed, irrigators might have to extend their pipes a little, but they would still be able to draw water from the river with minimal investment.

Related Pages:
Snake River Dams Critical to Irrigated Ag Industry by Darryll Olsen, Tri-City Herald, 8/25/18

Stan Kuick, Richland
Snake Dams Not Needed to Irrigate
Tri-City Herald, November 16, 2018

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