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Port contributes $20,000 to help advance new reservoir

Money the Port of Sunnyside received for selling excess water rights back to an irrigation district during a water short season several years ago will be used for the purpose of helping ensure water is available to irrigators who need it.

Port of Sunnyside commissioners recently approved a resolution that contributes $20,000 to the Yakima Basin Storage Alliance, the group working on the Black Rock Reservoir project. Sid Morrison with the Yakima Basin Storage Alliance made a presentation to Port commissioners during the group's study session May 24.

Jeff Matson, president of the Sunnyside Port Commission, said when the three-member group received $89,165 from the irrigation district for its excess water rights, it decided to set the money aside to be used for projects the group felt were good for the community.

Matson said the Port decided to donate $20,000 to the project because during Morrison's presentation he stated that the Yakima Basin Storage Alliance has already committed to expenses through the end of 2005. Matson explained that the Port decided to donate $1,000 a month through December 2005, which equals roughly $20,000. Matson said the money will be donated three or four months at a time.

Yakima Basin Storage Alliance will most likely use the funds to help support studies that are being done on the feasibility of Black Rock Reservoir, including studies involving some of the proposed sites that will be affected by the reservoir. Matson said proponents of the reservoir are working to make sure the sites are geologically sound. Ultimately, Matson said the funds are being used to support the Black Rock Reservoir.

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