Department of Ecology News Release - October 16, 2014

New pipes, pumps spell water relief in Methow Valley
Dignitaries celebrate upgrade benefits to fishery and water users

TWISP – Dignitaries gathered today in the Methow Valley to inaugurate $10 million in projects designed to increase flows in the Twisp and Methow rivers, and provide a reliable supply of water for the Methow Valley Irrigation District and the town of Twisp.

For decades, fish managers have sought to improve conditions for endangered and threatened species in the Methow Watershed. The area hosts some of the best fish stocks and habitat for Upper Columbia River salmon recovery.

At the same time, infrastructure failures and ongoing legal challenges led to water insecurity for valley irrigators and townspeople.

“The purpose of these projects is to benefit the important salmon species and the water users who rely on the Twisp and Methow rivers,” said Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee. “The recent wildfires and floods have been hard on this valley, and its rivers, so it is nice to mark the start of something new and the collaboration it represents.”

A top-to-bottom redesign of the irrigation district’s infrastructure begins with the laying of more than five miles of pipe in the bed of MVID’s East Canal, and seven miles of piped irrigation laterals that will reduce diversions from the Methow River and give irrigators access to an efficient, gravity pressurized water system.

Construction of four new irrigation wells mark the beginning of the end of MVID’s West Canal diversion from the Twisp River and will restore 4.5 miles of stream flows on the Twisp River. Current West Canal users will have access to a shorter, pressurized piped system supplied by the new well field or rely on individual wells.

A portion of a long-term water rights lease from MVID to Twisp is being restructured into a permanent water rights sale that meets both the MVID member needs and Twisp municipal needs.

Washington Department of Ecology’s Office of Columbia River is funding $6.8 million of the projects through legislation sponsored by Senator Parlette. Trout Unlimited has raised the balance of $3.2 million from sources including the Chelan, Douglas and Grant county public utility districts, and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

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Contact:

Melissa Downes, Office of Columbia River, melissa.downes@ecy.wa.gov, 509-480-0612

Joye Redfield-Wilder, Ecology Communications, joye.redfield-wilder@ecy.wa.gov,  509-575-2610; @ecyCentral

Lisa Pelly, Trout Unlimited, lpelly@tu.org,  509-630-0467

Jennifer Molesworth, Bureau of Reclamation, jmolesworth@pn.usbr.gov, 509-881-8699

Bunny Morgan, Methow Valley Irrigation District, 509-997-2318