Ecology asks for input on Wanapum Dam water issues

Ecology asks for input on Wanapum Dam water issues
This undated photo provided by Grant County (Wash.) public utility, the Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River, Wash., is shown. (AP Photo/Grant County (Wash.) public utility)
WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY NEWS RELEASE -- Irrigators and well users who may be experiencing water supply problems upstream of the Wanapum Dam related to the pool drawdown are encouraged report them.

The Washington Department of Ecology is taking inventory of those affected by the change of water levels due to structural concerns at the Wanapum Dam.

Irrigators and well users along 58 miles of the Columbia River from the Wanapum Dam upstream to Rocky Reach Dam could be affected.

“We recognize this is a critical time of year when irrigators are starting to use water on their crops,” said Ecology Director Maia Bellon. “We want to make sure that farmers using surface water and people with wells that may be connected to the river have secure access to it.”

“We are reaching out to learn who might be having problems accessing water as we explore ways to remedy water supply concerns,” said Bellon. “It is important that water users have the information they need and we will be as flexible as we can to make any related permitting as smooth and streamlined as possible.”

The goal is to help people respond quickly while ensuring appropriate requirements for safety, in-water work, fish screening, and legal water use are met.

Water users may call Ecology’s water resources customer service representatives if they anticipate a problem with their surface water intake or groundwater wells. This will help narrow the inventory of potential problems as Ecology explores approaches to remedy water supply concerns.

Customer service phone lines:
• Chelan, Douglas, and Kittitas counties call 509-575-2490
• Grant county call 509-329-3400

Chelan Public Utilities along with representatives from the tree fruit industry will host a meeting for surface water irrigators from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13, at the Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee.