Kennewick Irrigation District’s board unanimously decided Tuesday to take some of the property it owns out of the project to bring Yakima River water to Red Mountain so other property owners can add acres.
Removing about 66 of the 620 acres KID owns in the project is expected to reduce the district’s debt load by nearly $600,000.
The project to bring water to prime wine grape-growing land near Benton City is limited to irrigating up to 1,785 acres.
Property owners within the local improvement district, or LID, will pay the almost $20.2 million cost of the project.
Nine property owners asked to add about 221 acres to the project, but KID only received requests from property owners who represent about 46 acres to opt out of the project.
KID board members considered choosing to take up to about 111 KID-owned acres out of the project.
But officials decided to only take out about 66 of its acres based on an analysis by RH2 Engineering of Richland, which determined that those acres wouldn’t likely need to be served by water based on the need for impervious services such as roads, staging areas and storage and based on the terrain, said Chuck Freeman, KID’s manager.
That freed up a total of about 112 acres that could be used for property owners who wanted to join the LID, Freeman said.
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.
For the full story, check back later for updates.
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