Whatever it’s called, Amon Wasteway won’t look the same in the future.
The amount of water in the wasteway is going to decline as Kennewick Irrigation District continues conservation projects.
Those projects are meant to cut down on the water that KID pumps out of the Yakima River and into the irrigation district’s system, officials said.
With KID’s open channel canal system, water is wasted because it takes water to move water. It takes a gallon and a quarter to move every gallon that KID pumps out of the Yakima River, said Seth Defoe, KID’s planning manager.
Chuck Freeman, KID’s manager, said the goal is to keep more water in the river for the benefit of endangered species, including steelhead and bulltrout.
“We are implementing conservation, and through that, water remains in the river and doesn’t seep and end up in these areas where it never was,” Defoe said.
KID already has lined 14 miles of canals and has 50 remaining, Freeman said. Earthen canals are being lined with a rubber lining to prevent seepage, improve water flow and lower the amount of chemicals needed to control weeds.
“We are literally lining miles a year now,” he said.
KID is pulling out about 3,000 acre-feet less of water from the Yakima River a year, thanks to the canal lining the district has already completed, Freeman said. The effort started in the mid-2000s.
In addition to the lining efforts, some automated gates already are in place, with plans for more to be installed, perhaps later this year, Freeman said. With the gates, KID will spill even less water because of how the gates will automatically fluctuate to release and store water.