Kennewick Irrigation District is considering taking some of its acres out of the Red Mountain project so other property owners can add acres and KID can save about $1.2 million.
KID Manager Chuck Freeman told the KID board Tuesday that there are nine property owners who have asked to add about 221 acres to the project, which will bring Yakima River water to prime wine grape-growing land near Benton City.
But the project is limited to irrigating only up to 1,785 acres, Freeman said. And only four property owners who represent about 46 acres have asked to opt out of the project.
The KID board has the flexibility to bring acres in and out of the local improvement district, or LID, boundaries now because the final assessment roll has not been set, Freeman said.
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Property owners within the LID will pay the almost $20.2 million cost of the project. KID is one of the landowners, with about 620 acres.
KID could choose to take about 111 acres out of the project, which would reduce the amount of debt service KID will pay as a landowner, Freeman said.
The capital cost per acre is about $11,304, according to KID documents. Freeman said KID could save more than $1 million in capital costs with the change.
KID still would receive water for about 509 of its acres, according to KID documents.
Still, that would free up only about 157 acres, which is not enough to cover all the acres that landowners would like to include in the project, Freeman said.
Freeman said the downside is that KID property could be less valuable without the water when KID goes to sell the land. An estimate on what that loss could add up to was not given.
Time is critical on this, Freeman said, because of the timeline on contracting the rest of the project, which will be affected by what properties are included in the LID.
Commissioners did not discuss the issue Tuesday. The board is expected to make a decision at its next meeting June 18.
The KID board already approved contracting with Pacific Crest Construction of Lynnwood to build the Kiona intake structure, pump house and other improvements.
The intake station is near the intersection of Highway 224 and Demoss Road.
Officials hope to have river water flowing to the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area between Richland and Benton City by summer 2014, about a year earlier than originally anticipated.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; email@example.com