Property owners on Red Mountain have told the Kennewick Irrigation District to go ahead with plans for a water distribution system costing no more than $17.2 million.
About two dozen people representing 15 property owners in the Red Mountain South local improvement district heard details about the system Monday at a special meeting at Terra Blanca Winery in Benton City.
Paul Cross of RH2 Engineering said the plan is designed to deliver pressurized water to about 1,700 acres on Red Mountain, which has been recognized as prime wine grape-growing land.
Cross said the system could be built and ready by the 2014 irrigation season but only if construction can start soon.
Property owners questioned the need for a $500,000 generator as a backup power supply and the need to filter Yakima River after being pumped out at Kiona.
Cross said the final design may not have those items if the property owners agree they are unnecessary.
A survey of property owners in the LID who attended the meeting showed that 14 want KID to continue with the system design. Only one person was opposed.
The region on the ridge between West Richland and Benton City has produced grapes for about 35 years and is home to such wineries as Col Solare, Hedges Family Estate, Fidelitas and Kiona Vineyards Winery.
Cross said there is a tight timeline because state fish and wildlife officials will allow construction for the new pumping state at Kiona in the Yakima River only between July 15 and Sept. 15 to minimize harm to fish.
"If we miss that window, we have to wait a whole year," he said.
Chuck Freeman, KID district manager, said the board will decide at its first meeting in July about what the system design should include and what the costs to property owners will be.
The LID, which has 1,700 acres and was formed in September 2009, has 85 participants, including KID, which owns about 250 acres in nine parcels.