Thursday, October 05, 2006

Columbia River Water Plan Available for Review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Oct. 5, 2006 06-202

Details on Columbia River water plan available for review

YAKIMA - A draft environmental impact statement addressing how the state should implement a new water management program for the Columbia River is available for review.

House Bill 2860, passed this year, directs the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) to lead an effort to aggressively pursue development of new water supplies for both in-stream and out-of- stream uses on the Columbia River.

Four open houses are slated for October and November where people may learn more about the program and provide comment on the proposals in the Columbia River Water Management Program environmental impact statement. Comments on the programmatic EIS will be accepted through Nov. 20, 2006, and should be directed in writing to Derek Sandison, Dept. of Ecology, 15 W. Yakima Ave., Suite 200, Yakima, WA 98902; or by email to:

An electronic version of the EIS and a list of libraries where copies of the EIS may be viewed are available online at: wr/cwp/crwmp.html. Or copies may be obtained by calling (509) 454-7679.

Staff from Ecology will be available at the open houses to answer questions and share insight on the proposals outlined in the draft EIS. In addition, a draft report inventorying water supplies and a long-term water demand forecast will be introduced during the workshops. The water supply and forecast documents will be the basis for Columbia River water management decision making. The water supply and forecast reports are due to the Legislature by Nov. 15, 2006.

The open houses will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at these locations:

* Oct 24 - Moses Lake: Big Bend Community College, Advanced Technologies Education Center (ATEC), 7662 Chanute Street N.E.

* Oct. 25 - Colville: Agricultural Trade Center, 317 W. Astor

* Nov. 1 - Kennewick: Three Rivers Convention Center, Meeting Rooms E & F, 7016 W. Grandridge Blvd.

* Nov. 7 - Wenatchee: Wenatchee Convention Center (The Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel), Fuji Room, 201 N. Wenatchee Ave.

Proposals addressed in the draft EIS include a plan for delivering water to Odessa Subarea farmlands, a secondary feed route to the Potholes Reservoir, off-channel storage options, water conservation projects and voluntary regional water agreements. # # #