In May, the Columbia Basin Development League learned that the Columbia Basin Project will receive $1.99 million in federal funding to help with a host of construction work. The federal discretionary funding includes $750,000 toward the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program, $650,000 toward the Potholes Supplemental Feed Route, and $590,000 for completion of the Pasco Pump Lateral. CBDL’s Mike Schwisow said the Pasco project will help ongoing struggles for the south end of the district.
“[The Pasco Pump Lateral project] captures water that was creating drainage problems at the south end of the district. And they’re using that to actually redirect the water to supply some farm land, reducing overall diversion from the Grand Coulee. So, that’s a good water conservation program.”
When it comes to the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program, Schwisow says this is the first federal money since the study phase of the project a decade ago.
“Once the earmark ban was in place, those funds dried up, so this is the first time that the federal government through the Bureau of Reclamation is getting reengaged as a funder of these activities and the $750,000 that the project qualified for is going to be used for design of pump stations and construction oversight.”
Altogether, Schwisow said the federal funding, in addition to the state’s commitments, is a much-needed boost for key components of the Columbia Basin Project.
Rep. Dan Newhouse said, “This new investment is a positive step forward in ensuring that users who depend on the depleting Odessa Aquifer have sufficient water resources…it was overdue for the federal government to fulfill their partnership in this project…I will continue to work with the Bureau of Reclamation, stakeholders, and our state and local leaders to keep the Columbia Basin Project moving and supply much-needed water resources to support our Mid-Columbia economy.”