Reclamation Releases Report Summarizing Odessa Subarea Special Study Findings

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Bill Gray, (509) 754-0214

For Release: April 01, 2008
The Bureau of Reclamation today announced the availability of the Odessa Subarea Special Study, Appraisal-level Investigation, Summary of Findings report which investigates replacing current groundwater use in the Odessa Ground Water Management Subarea with surface water from the Columbia Basin Project.

The report documents the appraisal-level investigation and decisions that Reclamation announced in February 2008.

Of the four alternatives previously identified, Reclamation selected Alternative B for further study. This alternative proposes to construct a new East High Canal system north of Interstate-90 and expand the capacity of the existing East Low Canal south of Interstate-90 while also extending it a little over 2 miles.

Reclamation also examined options replacing surface water supply for current groundwater irrigation by diverting Columbia River water in a manner that minimizes effects to fish listed under the Endangered Species Act. Reclamation decided to continue to study operational modifications at Banks Lake and Potholes Reservoir and the possible construction of Rocky Coulee Dam and reservoir as potential options to provide the replacement water supply.

Reclamation presented appraisal-level investigation findings at public meetings in October 2007. Public comments were solicited and considered and are summarized in this report. In addition, engineering technical feasibility, estimated construction costs, study objectives, and potential environmental effects, and other issues were considered in selecting alternatives and options for future investigation.

Reclamation will initiate additional data collection and analyses to further develop engineering designs and improve the accuracy of cost estimates for the selected alternatives and options. Economic analyses will occur to determine if the alternative and options are economically justified and financially feasible. Public scoping meetings will be held later this year in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

The Odessa Subarea Special Study is scheduled for completion in 2011. It is one of several water management studies in the Columbia River basin being pursued in by Reclamation in partnership with the Washington Department of Ecology. Washington is a cost-share partner in the study.

The Columbia Basin Project, located in central Washington, was authorized for the irrigation of about 1 million acres. The multi-purpose project provides irrigation water for about 671,000 acres in four eastern Washington counties, while also providing hydroelectric power generation, flood control, municipal water, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.

The report can be downloaded from the Study website located at Paper copies or a CD-ROM containing the report can be obtained by contacting the Study manager, Ellen Berggren at (208) 378-5090 or at Additional Study information, including past reports and study updates, can be found on the Reclamation website at

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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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