Proposal on Odessa Aquifer due today

SPOKANE -- A proposal that could take water from behind Grand Coulee Dam to expand one of the nation's largest federal irrigation projects by up to 100,000 acres near Moses Lake will be released today.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will release its draft environmental impact statement on how to replace the water from the declining Odessa Aquifer, and to provide a more stable water supply for farmers. The document will be open for public comments for 60 days.

Some environmental groups oppose the taking of more water for farms, saying the diversions harm salmon migration and water quality, and are an expensive and unneeded subsidy for farmers.