West Extension Irrigation District is already feeling the effects of the dry winter. There was little to no snow pack in the Blue Mountains, which feed the Umatilla River, so water levels in the River have been steadily declining much sooner than usual. WEID began using the Bureau of Reclamation’s Phase I Pumping Plant to pump Columbia River water into the canal about a month earlier than usual.
Some of this pumped water is “Exchange Water” which is pumped to us at no charge to the District. This equals the amount of water that WEID leaves in the Umatilla River for fish purposes. Any water needed above that amount, up to our allotment, we have to pay for. This money comes out of our budget for pumping costs.
Last year pumping costs both for the main canal and the Irrigon system were much higher than anticipated or budgeted for. This is why the Special Assessment went out at the end of the year. The Board of Directors built that additional $2/acre in to this year’s budget with the anticipation this will cover the additional pumping costs that are associated with such a dry year.
Please review the conservation materials that came with your schedule and look on our Resources page for additional information.