Odessa Water Study Released
by Wes Nelson
Capital Press, October 19, 2007
After a year of review, the federal Bureau of Reclamation is ready to talk about its Odessa Sub-area study, which proposes to replace the pumping of groundwater with surface water from the Columbia Basin Project.
Reclamation officials will host meetings Oct. 23, at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, to take comment on the study. The first begins at 1 p.m., at the Advanced Technologies Education Center, 7611 Boling St. The second meeting, held at the same location, begins at 6 p.m.
In 2006, Reclamation completed a report that recommended several preliminary alternatives to replace groundwater pumping in the Odessa Ground Water Management Subarea. The report can be viewed on Reclamation's website: www.usbr.gov/pn/.
The bureau has examined four water delivery alternatives including proposals to construct an East High Canal system and to expand the capacity of the existing East Low Canal and construct an extension. It also considered options to provide a replacement surface water supply from the Columbia River in a manner that doesn't harm fish listed under the Endangered Species Act. This includes using water stored in Columbia Basin Project reservoirs and possibly constructing new storage facilities.
The meetings offer the public the chance to discuss the alternatives and see how much they will cost.
"We encourage the public to attend the meeting, review the analysis results, and share their thoughts about the alternatives that Reclamation should continue to investigate in the next study phase," said William Gray, Assistant Area Manager.
After considering public comment, the bureau will begin a more comprehensive analysis early next year.
The Odessa Subarea Special Study is one of several water management studies in the Columbia River basin in which Reclamation and the Washington Department of Ecology are partners. The Columbia Basin Project, located in central Washington, was authorized for the irrigation of 1,029,000 acres. Currently, the Project serves about 671,000 acres in four eastern Washington counties. The multi-purpose project provides irrigation, power production, flood control, municipal water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.
More information about the Study, including past reports and study updates, can be found on the Reclamation website at www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/ucao_misc/odessa/index.html.
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