Press Releases

Irrigation District Signs 40-Year Water Contract
Sep 15, 2015

For More Information:
Mike Schwisow
Director of Government Relations

The Board of Directors of the East Columbia Basin Irrigation District approved a 40-year renewal of the Master Water Service Contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The contract, set to expire in 2020, authorizes the District to continue providing water service.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation owns the water right and infrastructure of the Columbia Basin Project including Grand Coulee Dam, the Banks Lake Reregulating Reservoir, the Potholes Reservoir as well as thousands of miles of canals and drainage systems. Since 1969, Reclamation has contracted with three irrigation districts which are organized under Washington law to operate and maintain the facilities (East, Quincy, and South). The Districts assess landowners for the cost of operation and maintenance of the facilities and to repay the Federal government’s original capital investment.

The early negotiation for a contract extension was a result of the District’s ongoing work to implement the Odessa Ground Water Replacement Program.  Work started in late 2013 to replace deep well irrigation with water supplies from the Columbia Basin Project on 87,000 acres.

A $26,000,000 grant from the Department of Ecology-Office of the Columbia River allowed the District to continue construction on East Low Canal, including two large siphons. The plan calls for financing the new distribution systems with municipal revenue bonds issued by the District and secured by water service contracts with those landowners receiving water.

The District plans to issue bonds for financing the initial distribution system before the end of the year. The extension of the Master Water Service Contract assures investors and promotes bonds on the most favorable terms. 

District Board President Boe Clausen said, “Reclamation and District staff both recognized the need to move this process along. The Board appreciates the priority and extra effort Reclamation put in on this contract to allow replacement water to be delivered at the earliest possible time.”


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