Updated: May 2
For more information: Jennifer Korfiatis, ECBID (509) 669-6979
For Immediate Release: April 26, 2023
Othello, WA- The Washington State Legislature has passed a Capital Budget that includes $32.8M in appropriations to assist in the planning, designing, engineering, development coordination, and construction of the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program (OGWRP). This funding will provide irrigation water to the acreage located within the Odessa Subarea Special Study.
Specifically, the appropriation will be used to advance design and construction of up to five eligible delivery systems in the East Columbia Basin Irrigation District (ECBID) service district and will reduce the current normalized cost to landowners. The appropriation also includes $850,000 for the Bureau of Reclamation for administration and necessary design review.
OGWRP is a regional effort to implement the Odessa Subarea Special Study FEIS (2012), which is building the necessary infrastructure for farmers to exchange valid, state-issued Odessa groundwater rights for Columbia Basin Project water. Since 2004, the State of Washington has invested more than $126 million, and the Bureau of Reclamation more than $45 million, in the development and early implementation of the OGWRP. The ECBID has also sold $16.8 million of landowner-funded municipal bonds to fund the construction of OGWRP delivery facilities. The current OGWRP Watershed Planning Project is building on these significant contributions.
The proviso language was developed in collaboration with Senators Mark Schoesler and Judy Warnick and Representatives Mary Dye and Tom Dent, and ECBID Development Coordinator Jon Erickson. On March 27, the bill was sent to the State House of Representatives for review and reduced from $32.8M to $20M. Further review was given in budget conference, where full funding was restored.
“I’d like to thank Jon Erickson for collaborating with our team in the development of the proviso language. His efforts were a tremendous asset in securing this funding,” said Senator Schoesler.
“This is a significant step forward in building out the critical OGWRP, which has been decades in the making, and is the result of strong collaboration and continuing support from a number of partners, landowners, and elected officials. We’re thrilled to see this project progress,” explained ECBID Secretary-Manager Craig Simpson.
Located in central Washington State, the East Columbia Basin Irrigation District is the largest district in the state, with authorization to irrigate 472,000 acres. Currently, 169,000 acres are developed and managed by 4,500 landowners within the federal Columbia Basin Project. Additionally, the District is involved in the development of 87,000 acres associated with OGWRP. The District provides a reliable supply of water that irrigates the cropland that produces food shipped domestically and internationally.