Reclamation Identifies Water Delivery Alternatives within the Odessa Subarea

Media Contact: Diana Cross, (208) 378-5020
William Gray, (509) 754-0214

For Release: September 29, 2006

The Bureau of Reclamation released a report today identifying options for replacing groundwater use within the Odessa Ground Water Management Subarea with surface water from the Columbia Basin Project in eastern Washington. The recommendations were the result of a Project Alternative Solutions Study (PASS) that Reclamation conducted over the past seven months. The report, Initial Alternative Development and Evaluation, Odessa Subarea Special Study, documents the PASS methodology, assumptions, and recommendations and may be viewed on Reclamation's website at http:/

Reclamation will host an information meeting to discuss the alternatives on October 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Advanced Technologies Education Center, Big Bend Community College, Moses Lake, Wash. Reclamation staff and partners will make formal presentations, answer questions, and explain the next phase of the study. The meeting facilities are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Please direct requests for sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired, or other auxiliary aids, to Connie Nicolai at (509) 754-0215 by October 4.

The four water delivery alternatives include proposals to construct variations of an East High Canal system that Reclamation previously examined in the late 1980s. Other proposals include relying on the existing East Low Canal by expanding the canal capacity and constructing an extension to the canal or revising Project operations to obtain additional capacity so that existing East Low Canal infrastructure could be used.

The report also contains a list of possible water supply options to provide a replacement surface water supply for the proposed water delivery alternatives. Additional Columbia River diversions beyond what is currently diverted for the Columbia Basin Project will be required to replace groundwater pumping. However, Columbia River flow requirements for fish listed under the Endangered Species Act and other requirements restrict opportunities to divert water. The report identifies several water supply possibilities that could accommodate these restrictions. These options include relying on existing reservoirs within the Columbia Basin Project, adjusting current Project operations, and/or constructing new storage facilities. "Completion of the PASS is an important step and focuses future study efforts," said William Gray, Deputy Area Manager. "We will conduct a more detailed appraisal analysis of the recommendations from the PASS and report back on further progress in a year."

The Columbia Basin Project, located in central Washington, was authorized for the irrigation of 1,029,000 acres. Currently, the Project serves about 671,000 acres in four eastern Washington counties. The multi-purpose project provides irrigation, power production, flood control, municipal water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.

More information about the study, including the Initial Alternative Development and Evaluation, Odessa Subarea Special Study report, can be found at the Reclamation website at Printed copies are also available upon request from the Study Manager, Ellen Berggren, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 1150 North Curtis Road, Boise ID 83706-1234, at (208) 378-5090, or

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

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