Refilling Reservoir Levels & Piecework System

Refilling Reservoir Levels & Piecework System

Refilling Reservoir Levels & Piecework System

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

It's been a little over a year since a 65 foot long crack was discovered at the base of the Wanapum Dam; as a result reservoir levels were lowered to make the nearly $69 million repairs. Tom Stredwick, Public Affairs Manager for the Grant County PUD, says the refilling of the Wanapum Dam reservoir is ahead of schedule, which is good news for Eastern Washington growers who utilize reservoir water to irrigate their crops.

STREDWICK: We had anticipated being in a place where we could restore the reservoir behind the dam in the May time frame and our contractors and staff have been working in such a way that we've been able to expedite that. We're going to be a month, month and a half ahead of schedule so what that means is we're able to raise the reservoir up eight feet approximately, over the next 1-2 weeks.

Thankfully irrigators on the Columbia River are not as dependent on the snowpack in the Cascades as they are the Canadian Rockies. Stredwick says that they are in a position where they are in the low to mid 90% of average in terms of water coming through the Columbia River this year.

It was standing room only at a recent special state Supreme Court hearing in Toppenish on whether piece rate workers should be compensated for break times. Legal services attorneys argued that piecework earnings should be excluded from the time allotted for rest periods, resulting in extra pay for the breaks, while Wafla and other agricultural groups submitted an amicus brief on behalf of growers in the state asking the Court to uphold the language of the current regulation, which states that the piece rate earnings can be used to cover this rest break. The Court's written decision on the matter is expected to be published this summer.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.

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