Reclamation to Hold Public Meetings to Discuss the Odessa Subarea Special Study

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

For Release: October 15, 2007

The Bureau of Reclamation will host public information meetings on October 23 at the Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Washington, to provide an update on the appraisal analyses completed for the Odessa Subarea Special Study. The study is investigating replacing current groundwater use in the Odessa Ground Water Management Subarea with surface water from the Columbia Basin Project.

Two public meetings are scheduled at the Advanced Technologies Education Center (ATEC), Big Bend Community College, located at 7611 Boling Street. The first is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. A second meeting will include the same information at 6:00 p.m. 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 Jennifer McConnell at (509) 754-0202 by October 18.

In 2006, Reclamation completed a report that recommended several preliminary alternatives to replace groundwater pumping in the Odessa Ground Water Management Subarea. The report entitled Initial Alternative Development and Evaluation, Odessa Subarea Special Study can be viewed on Reclamation's website: http:/www.usbr.gov/pn/.

Reclamation has spent the past year conducting appraisal-level investigations of the report's recommendations.

The appraisal analyses examined four water delivery alternatives including proposals to construct an East High Canal system and to expand the capacity of the existing East Low Canal and construct an extension. Options to provide a replacement surface water supply from the Columbia River in a manner that minimizes effects to fish listed under the Endangered Species Act were also considered. This would include using water stored in existing reservoirs within the Columbia Basin Project and possibly constructing new storage facilities.

The appraisal analyses verified the technical feasibility of the alternatives, identified potential environmental and social issues, and developed preliminary cost estimates for comparison purposes. Reclamation will present this information at the public meetings. "We encourage the public to attend the meeting, review the analysis results, and share their thoughts about the alternatives that Reclamation should continue to investigate in the next study phase," said William Gray, Assistant Area Manager.

After considering public comment, Reclamation will select alternatives that will be the focus of more comprehensive feasibility-level analyses beginning in 2008.

The Odessa Subarea Special Study is one of several water management studies in the Columbia River basin in which Reclamation and the Washington Department of Ecology are partners. The State is a cost share partner in the Study.

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 past reports and study updates, can be found on the Reclamation website at http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/ucao_misc/odessa/index.html.

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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 www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/ucao_misc/odessa/index.html