18 Dec MAJOR MILESTONE REACHED WITH SIGNING OF AMENDED RENEWAL MASTER WATER SERVICE CONTRACT
Mike Schwisow, Director of Government Relations
Representatives of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and East Columbia Basin Irrigation District (ECBID) on December 4th signed off on amendments to the Renewal Master Water Service Contract (RMWSC) concluding three years of negotiations. The landowner relationship with USBR is established through several forms of contracts between USBR and ECBID.
The amendments to the RMWSC provide ECBID the authority to write contracts with landowners for delivery of Odessa groundwater replacement water supplies. The existing RMWSC established specific authority to write water delivery contracts for a certain number of acres utilizing portions of specific water rights held by the Bureau.
The Odessa Ground Water Replacement Program (OGWRP) required additional acreage authorizations and the issuance of a new secondary use water right which increased the amount Reclamation can divert at Grand Coulee. The amendments will allow an additional 70,000 acres of ground-water replacement specific contracts. The District was also successful in negotiating contracting authority for an additional 10,000 acres of ground-water replacement specific contracts based on water supplies derived from conservation projects funded by the Washington Department of Ecology.
Additionally, the District received authority to write delivery contracts for another 10,000 acres based conservation projects not funded by Ecology. These acres will not be limited to ground-water replacement. Conservation based contracts do not require additional diversions at Grand Coulee Dam for the water supply and are instead hydrated through conveyance system efficiencies. Piping or lining earthen canals allows a greater percentage of water diverted to get to the farm headgate.
With the contracting done, the OGWRP is now ready to move ahead with the development of additional distribution systems.