Kennewick Irrigation District gets second drought emergency grant

Tri-City Herald file

The Kennewick Irrigation District has received $45,304 in emergency drought money from the state of Washington to help pay for efforts to deliver irrigation water this year.

The new grant brings the money KID has received from the $16 million in emergency funding approved by the Legislature earlier this year to $74,176.

KID water users continue to be under a schedule of mandatory water restrictions, but officials are monitoring river conditions to see if the restrictions could be eased before water service ends for the year Oct. 11.

The $45,304 grant, announced Wednesday by the state Department of Ecology, will be used by the district to help pay for the rental of large pumps needed during the drought. KID is required to match the grant money.

KID rented large pumps for its Cherry Creek Reservoir and for Zirkle Fruit, which offered KID help with water storage to benefit KID users. When additional water was available it has been put in storage to be pulled out when water supplies are low.

In addition, a large pump was needed for a project undertaken with the Columbia Irrigation District. The arrangement allows KID water that would otherwise go into the Columbia River to flow into Columbia Irrigation District canals and then be pulled back out at a couple of locations where it can go back into the KID system.

A fourth large rental pump was installed near Highway 395 to replace a hydraulic pump that required too much water to operate during a drought year. The temporary pump is more water-efficient, said Jason McShane, KID engineering and operations manager.

The $28,872 grant the district was awarded earlier this summer was to help increase water conservation by airing TV and radio ads and hiring an officer to enforce compliance with its irrigation schedule during the drought. It was matched with KID money.

This is the first year the district has had a mandatory watering schedule for parcels of three acres or less. Restrictions also were put in place for larger users.

The current watering schedule allows homeowners to water three days a week for 20 minutes each, a change from the schedule earlier in the summer of 30 minutes two days a week.

The two-day-a-week schedule meant that some customers were required to go as long as 4.5 days at time between watering, McShane said. The three-day-a-week schedule also allows customers to water at the same time of day, either morning or night, which is more convenient for some users.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews