Monthly Report Archive

YBSA Monthly Report, March 2017

YBSA Monthly Report

March, 2018

Yakima River Basin Water Update: Storage in the five reservoir is at 75% of capacity. Snow water equivalent at this time is 100% in the upper basin and 101% in the lower basin.

Capital Budget: $31.1 million is allocated for continuation of the Integrated Plan, a 30-year, $4 billion project. It includes $4 million for conservation projects.

Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project: The Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project began in 2009.

  1. Additional Water for Basin of 500,00 acre/feet: No additional water has been available. The Kachess Project could provide 200,000 acre/feet if it refills each year.
  2. Purchases of Land and Improved Habitat: Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to purchase land and improve habitat.
  3. Improved Fish Passage, Increase the number of Salmonoids in the Yakima Basin: To date there has been a minimal increase in Salmonoids in the basin. The largest increase is in the reintroducing Sockeye in Lake Cle Elum. Millions of dollars have been spent on improving passage to and from Lake Cle Elum with millions more needed to complete.
  4. Increase Water Storage in the Yakima Basin: Drilling and evaluation continue on potential projects to identify if additional storage in the basin can be accomplished. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the use of dead water in Lake Kachess for irrigation is being prepared.
  5. Review the use of Columbia River Water for Irrigation and Instream Flow: Pump Storage (Black Rock Project) would provide all the water needed during droughts.

Benefits of Pump Storage (Black Rock) of Columbia River Water (2007):

RECREATION & TOURISM: New recreation associated with Black Rock Reservoir would represent a twenty-year spending potential of $1.28 billion. Land values are estimated over $1.273 billion. The twenty-year net present value (NPV) of all cash flows for land and housing units is roughly $1.977 billion with commercial development of $.147 billion. Based on cash flow analysis to NPV, the twenty-year revenues can bring a total current value of:

Travel and Recreation $1.280 billion

Residential and resort development $1.977 billion

Commercial development $ .147 billion

Total NPV of Revenue Stream $3.404 billion

As reported by Mitchell Nelson Group, LLC in Recreation and Economic Development Analysis of Lands around the proposed Black Rock Reservoir. Recreation cash flows pg 41 & 42; land values pg 43; commercial development pg 44.

See Recreation Study for more in-depth information.

ENERGY PRODUCTION: The power market in the Northwest has changed. Pumping at the times of the day when power costs are relatively inexpensive and releasing water when prices skyrocket will make the operation more cost effective. This plan has the potential to significantly reduce or eliminate the projected cost of pumping. The demand for wind power is planned to dramatically increase and with it the need for “wind integration”.

Wind integration would place a premium on the “storage battery” value of controllable generation from Black Rock to offset the fact that the wind only blows around 30% of the time. The Black Rock Reservoir project includes a power plant at Roza and Sunnyside Canal. Also, water can be returned to the Columbia River through a plant at Priest Rapids Dam to generate electricity and add to the flow of the Columbia River when needed. Power plants at the western facility at Roza Canal and Sunnyside Canal and the eastern facility at the Columbia River can produce a cash flow to help defray the operating cost of pumping from the Columbia River.

Energy sales based on cash flow analysis and reduce to NPV, the 40-year revenues can bring a total value of $412 million1 at the western power plants and the P/G power benefits from the eastern power plant is estimated to be $25.7 million/year. The Recreation and Economic Development Analysis of Land around the Proposed Black Rock Reservoir study by Mitchell Nelson Group, LLC. 2As reported in the Power Generation Study by Larry Felton of Energy Northwest.

See the Energy Study for more in-depth information.

BENEFITS & JOBS: The Yakima Basin Storage Alliance (YBSA) believes the benefits of Black Rock Reservoir developed by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) in the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study (Storage Study) grossly underestimated the value that a new storage facility (Black Rock) can generate. With 600-800 thousand acre/feet of new water available in the Yakima River, a large lake for recreation and development, and a power generating capacity to assist the new wind power generation projects, the value of Black Rock will exceed the cost of constructing the reservoir.

  • Construction/Jobs: The BOR Storage Study Report estimates construction contract cost of $2.21 billion and adding (±25%) contingencies and non-contract costs (±35%) bring the project total cost to $3.749 billion. It is estimated the project will take ten years to compete. The Washington State Public Works Board estimates that PWTF dollar yields additional economic activity and that each million spent on new construction generates $2.34 million in economic activity and creates additional jobs. With an estimated construction cost of $2.21 billion to be expended over a 10-year period the annual expenditure will average approximately $200 million per year. Based upon the PWTF Board figures an estimated $468 million in additional economic activity and approximately 6000 construction and auxiliary jobs will be created.
  • Fish Enhancement: The Yakima River has the potential to be one of the most productive salmon rivers in the lower 48 states. The freed water in the Yakima River, because of a Columbia River pumped storage reservoir, would allow a more normal flow and cooler water in the river. The additional water would create more habitat in the flood plain and fish passage at existing reservoirs. Estimates by Jack Stanford, a world-renowned fish biologist, are with the management of freed water from the Yakima Basin Reservoirs and with the use of Columbia River water for out of stream use (irrigation) the increase in the number of anadromous salmonids would range between 500,000 to 1 Million returning annually.
  • Agriculture: Agriculture is Central Washington’s biggest job sector. Columbia pumped storage will guarantee a 70 percent water allocation to junior water rights holders during consecutive drought years. In the 2005 drought there was a loss of almost $250 Million in agricultural production with nearly $1 Billion ripple effect across the State. (Source: Washington State Department of Agriculture) The water made available from pumped storage is essential if the region wants to sustain its $1.3 Billion agriculture economy.
  • Job Creation: Construction of a Columbia pumped storage reservoir and related distribution projects will create 10 to 20 Thousand jobs over the next 5 to 7 years. Projects for fish passage and habitat improvements created by the additional water in the Yakima River will provide hundreds of jobs.
  • Recreation: Columbia pumped storage will be one of the largest flat-water recreation sites in eastern Washington. It will be just 35 minutes west of the Tri-Cities and 30 minutes east of Yakima. With this location, it is expected to become a world class resort, offering a wide range of recreation options.
  • Energy: Energy Secretary urges pumped storage investment to support an expanded energy transmission grid. The Columbia pumped storage reservoir would assist in expanding the energy transmission grid and facilitate wind integration. Pumping water from the Columbia River at times of the day when power costs are relatively inexpensive coupled with the use of wind power generation would maximize the “storage battery” value of controllable generation from the reservoir.
  • Economic Development: From world class wineries to high tech companies, Central Washington business development depends on a reliable water supply. Additional freed water in the Yakima River basin will recharge the aquifer. The surface water would be available for continued rural residential growth without depleting water for senior water rights.
  • Total Project Costs: Columbia Pumped Storage: $3.152 Billion construction cost $1.397 Billion mobilization, design and construction contingencies $1.130 Billion non-contract costs $5.679 Billion total over 5-7 years see page 2-52 Yakima River Basin Water Storage Facility Study Final PR/EIS.
  • Increase of Available Water: 1.6 Million Acre/Feet with 300,000 Acre/Feet inactive 1.3 Million Acre/Feet available annually for irrigation.
  • Economic Benefits: A More Complete Picture: When recreational benefits are added to economic impacts derived from agriculture, increased salmon stocks, energy production, and facility construction, the Columbia pumped storage reservoir benefits climb substantially. The table to the right clearly shows that the Reservoir’s benefits exceed its costs.
  • Benefits
Estimated Value Irrigated Agriculture $    930,000,000
Fisheries Use $    100,000,000
Recreation & Resort $3,404,000,000
Hydropower $    412,000,000
Municipal & Construction Jobs $    468,000,000
Fisheries Nonuse $2,600,000,000
TOTAL $7,914,000,000


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