23 Mar ECBID Board of Directors Considering Changes to Normalized Cost Program
By: Jennifer Korfiatis, Communications, East Columbia Basin Irrigation District
During the December 8, 2021 Board meeting, the Board of Directors of East Columbia Basin Irrigation District (ECBID) considered a motion to “apply grant money to extend systems to use the most amount of acres economically that can be served by public systems to take deep wells offline”. The Director who made the motion explained: “grant money received for delivery systems would be used to build pipelines out further instead of lowering the overall cost to all landowners.”
The motion was seconded. After further discussion, ECBID President Anderson requested to table the motion in order to gather more information and landowner input. Following responses from Ecology’s Office of Columbia River (OCR) and Reclamation, the Board will hold a meeting with landowners to review the information and receive feedback prior to voting on the motion.
ECBID Manager Simpson noted that the goal of this public system is to make it affordable to all landowners whether they are close or far from the canal. This motion, if passed, would present a partial or complete deviation from the District’s current normalized cost program.
ECBID staff is currently awaiting input from Reclamation and OCR regarding their evaluation of compliance with funding and implementation requirements. Additionally, District staff is working to compare potential funding/rate differences that would result from a complete or partial deviation from the normalized cost program for ECBID Board consideration prior to a full vote. Standalone
individually grant-funded systems are contrary to current OGWRP normalized intent.