KIMA TV – GUSTAVO OLGUIN – SUNNYSIDE, Wash.- Governor Jay Inslee was at the just finished ROZA Wasteway Reservoir today to recognize years of planning finally coming to fruition. “The world needs the best apples and the best hops in the world and the best wine in the world. That’s Washington and it’s got to have water to do that,” he said.
Inslee said this water is crucial to everything Washington produces and he’s been trying to do something like this since he was in congress.
While the event today was more of a ceremonial ribbon cutting, Ric Valicoff with the ROZA Board said the reservoir gives farmers in the lower valley another life line when water supply is low.
“We have supply here that can take care of them when they make the call for water, is the face that they can manage their farms much better,” Valicoff said.
The reservoir was paid for by a combination of the Bureau of Reclamation, the ROZA Irrigation District, and the Department of Ecology.
The total came out to a little more than $30 million and it holds 1,600 acre feet of water. Which is over 500 million gallons.
“Water that was normally wasted here would be sent back to the Yakima River. We’re actually able to capture that water with this resevior,” said Tom Tebb with the Department of Ecology.
How much water each area gets is determined by the size of snowpacks in winter and then percentages of that water is divided amongst farmers.
Before, farmers in need of water would have to make a call and wait four to five days for it to get there from the head gate in the Yakima River Canyon.
With this, they can cut the wait time in half and save farmers from losing money.
“If that water isn’t available for the plant, it can stress the plant or the trees, which would cause quite a bit of shrinkage,” Valicoff said. “Which in turn would be millions of dollars of loss to individuals.”
While we are almost at the end of harvest season in the valley, farmers in the ROZA district know they have extra water next year if needed.
Picture: ROZA district reservoir – KIMA TV