Monthly Report Archive

YBSA Monthly Report, February 2018

YBSA Monthly Report

February, 2018


Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project: In 1994, Congress passed the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project Act to focus on agricultural conservation and habitat enhancement.

In 2003 the Bureau of Reclamation began a study of the Black Rock Dam and Reservoir Yakima Basin water storage facility (pump storage facility) to develop and evaluate alternatives that could create additional water storage for the Yakima River basin and assess their potential to improve anadromous fish habitat, enhance the reliability of irrigation water supplies during dry years, and provide water to meet future municipal water demands. The Bureau of Reclamation selected the No Action alternative as the preferred alternative because the evaluation revealed that each alternative: “Required significant investment of federal funds ($1 billion to $7.7 billion) plus millions of dollars in annual operating costs and did not provide positive benefit-cost ratios required to be considered economically justified. The Black Rock alternative consistently met the irrigation water goal. The Bureau of Reclamation concluded in their study of Black Rock Reservoir that the project would not move forward.

Since the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study was completed in 2009 many changes have occurred. A review of the studies used in determining the cost-benefit of the Black Rock study using the values included in the Integrated Plan would change the cost-benefit ratio.

The Integrated Plan covers 3 phases with the third, final and largest phase included in the plan estimated to cost $4 billion over 30 years. Officials say the lowest percentage of water needed to avoid severe economic loss to farmers would be 70% during a drought year. The full 30-year integrated plan would total more than 55.4 billion gallons of new storage not including the use of Columbia River water. The 55.4 billion gallons would be added to the 53.8 billion gallons from phase 2 bringing the total to more than 109 billion gallons (334,508 acre/feet).

Water Update: The Yakima Basin storage is at 135% of average. Precipitation for the water year is 115% of average. Snow water equivalent for the upper basin is at 98% of average and the lower basin is at 101% of average.

Lower Yakima River Task Force: The task force met and developed plans for improving fish passage in the lower Yakima River. A study was made by the Yakama Nation emphasizing the need to provide passage for fish.


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