Monthly Report Archive

YBSA Monthly Report, April 2019

YBSA Monthly Report
April 2019

Water Availability: As of April 28th, the reservoirs are at 63% capacity and at 87% of average. Lake Kachess is at 78% of capacity. The NRCS reports the snow water equivalent for the upper Yakima Basin at 61% of average and the lower Yakima Basin sites at 85% of average.

Lake Kachess Pumping Plant: The Bureau of Reclamation completed the Kachess EIS and determined the floating pump project could move forward. There will be a year long review period for additional comments. Financing for the project is still being considered and the Roza Irrigation District is considering paying for the pumping project. As of now no other monies are available for mitigation.

The First DEIS of the Lake Kachess Project: The plan was to pump 200,000 acre/feet of water, 80 feet from dead storage below the dam. It also included a project to transfer water from Lake Keechelus to Lake Kachess. The DEIS stated that the water would not be available every year. In Chapter 4, Section 4.3 Surface Water Resources, it states that after using the dead water from Lake Kachess it would take 2-5 years to refill. The first draft of the EIS was continued. The updated Lake Kachess Environmental Impact document has been completed and publicized.

Yakima Basin Integrated Plan Report:
• Continue working on project to provide fish passage over Lake Cle Elum Dam.
• Designing and implementing improvements to rivers and streams in the upper basin for fish passage.
• Locating areas of cool water in the lower Yakima River to help salmon and steelhead survive during the hot summer months.
• Evaluate possibilities of providing greater flow and cooler water in the lower Yakima River.
• Receive approval of some funding from the Federal Government to continue to move forward on the Integrated Plan.

Report to the Integrated Plan Workgroup: A pipeline complex in the Umatilla Basin would bring Columbia River water to farmland. The Umatilla project would provide water for 3 different areas in the Umatilla Basin. The 3 pipelines each 6½ feet in diameter will transfer water from the Columbia River to the farms. Part of the mitigation would eliminate the need to continue pumping groundwater. Groundwater retention could provide additional water for the Umatilla River. 40 years ago, a Columbia River pumping project provided water for farms and instream flow. This new project would provide instream flow to enhance the population of salmonids in the Umatilla River. The first phase of the Columbia River water project for the Umatilla Basin farms will begin in 2019. Secured bank financing will enable the project to go online in 2020.

The Yakima River Basin Workplan includes a review of the use of Columbia River water for the Yakima Basin. Ten years have passed, and the Yakima Integrated Plan Work Group has not considered how the transfer and storage of Columbia River water would address all the needs for agriculture, fish and the economy.

The question is why have other regions been able to benefit from the Columbia River but not the

Yakima Basin? It’s time to move forward toward solving the Yakima Basin’s water problem for the next century.