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Office of Columbia River

Methow Instream Flow Improvement Project

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10/16/14 - New pipes, pumps spell water relief in Methow Valley

Dignitaries gathered today in the Methow Valley to inaugurate $10 million in projects designed to increase flows in the Twisp and Methow rivers for fish, 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, which 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."

  • Letter to the Methow Valley Irrigation District  from Ecology Director Maia Bellon

The project will improve instream flows and fish habitat in the Twisp River, Methow River, and Alder Creek; provide more reliable and efficient service for irrigators; and provide additional water to Town of Twisp.

The Project

The Methow Flow Improvement Project is comprised of four pieces:

  1. Methow Valley Irrigation District (MVID) West Canal:
    • Twisp River diversion will be abandoned.
    • Canal will be reconfigured into a shorter, pressurized pipe system, designed to deliver 2.8 cubic feet per second (cfs) to approximately 141 assessed acres from wells. Withdrawal rates will be approximately 900 gallons per minute (gpm).
    • The remaining 420 acres of land currently served by the West Canal will be served by individual or group wells.
  2. MVID East Canal:
    • The East Canal system will serve approximately 617 assessed acres.
    • Portions of the East Canal will be converted to a  pressurized pipe system with several individual or group well conversions.
    • Some laterals will be rehabilitated to improve efficiency.
    •  New East Canal spills will be created at the end of the system and near the canal/pipe interchange to route operational water (for example, Barkley Ditch spill that currently enters the MVID East Canal) to the Methow River.
  3. Alder Creek instream flow improvement -- MVID will abandon their diversion on Alder Creek, allowing the formerly-diverted water to remain in the creek.
  4. Town of Twisp water right -- Provides additional water 400 ac-ft of water to the town of Twisp.

For a more detailed description of the project, see Alternative 5 (the preferred alternative) in the Methow Valley Irrigation District Alternatives Evaluation Report.

State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Documents

More Informationn



Photo: MVID

Photo: MVID

Methow Valley, Okanogan County

Methow Valley Irrigation District and Trout Unlimited