NCW — Two local irrigation districts are receiving water efficiency grants through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District and Quincy-Columbia Basin Irrigation District are among 63 projects nationwide awarded a total of $4.1 million. The funding is part of the Department of the Interior's WaterSMART program.
The Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District, which serves the upper bench of East Wenatchee, Brays Landing and Howard Flats, is getting $75,000 to replace 35 analog propeller meters.
"We're replacing our meters with remote-read meters, so we can go out in the field and just hit a button and read the meters," manager secretary Mike Miller said. "It's about a $2 million project. We've been at it for about five years doing small grants as we could get them, trying to get our meters replaced. They've been in the ground since 1963. We've been trying to accomplish this, and we're about a third of the way done."
This will help improve water management and mitigate shortages, as well as ensure accurate readings.
"We're totally funded by our assessments," Miller said. "The only federal funding we get is through these grants, so anytime we can get one that helps cut the costs to our water users, we're always really appreciative of that."
The Quincy-Columbia Basin Irrigation District is getting $23,130 to replace a manually operated gate on the West Canal with an automatic one to fluctuate with the water flow.
"It keeps the water in the canals at the proper level, so we can deliver most efficiently to our landowners and also conserve water because we're not putting too much water in the canal at once," environmental assistant manager Craig Gyselinck said.
The grants require a match, so both districts will have to contribute the same amount they received.
"This grant is part of ongoing work that we're doing at the district to automate a lot of our canals, so this isn't the first (project) and it certainly won't be the last one," Gyselinck said. "Here at the Quincy district, we're really focused on modernizing our aging infrastructure, and this is one component of doing that."