Water On the Ground Now
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Darryll Olsen, Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association Board Representative recently spoke with the Ag Information Network about a new privately funded distribution system that would bring surface water irrigation to roughly 70,000 acres of farmland in the Odessa Subarea; a system that the Association says has now been surprisingly and arbitrarily, denied by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, prompting Odessa Subarea Irrigators and the Columbia Snake River Irrigators Association to file suit against the Bureau in the Eastern District of Washington.
OLSEN: We’ve been up there now for four years. We’ve done detailed engineering, and economic, and financial review and we have submitted to the Bureau and to the District the water service contract requests, now almost a year sitting there, that those water service contracts be honored, that they move forward with them. We are poised right now to start System 1; we were poised a year ago to do that. That’s about a $40 million system and we would do that all with private sector capitol and private sector development, and then turn it over to the District. They would have operational control no matter what, and if they wanted to have O & M control they could do that. But the key here is that we’ve got private sector capitol literally pent up in a signature authority to start System 1 that should have been started a year ago. We’ve got up to $100 million of commercial lending sitting there ready to go. W e could start on two of the other systems, but get the private sector moving to build these things, get them operational and then turn them over to the District. But do it now; we have the private capitol and the financing in hand and the public sector does not.. It means water on the ground now.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.