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SVID manager lauds state's efforts in aiding water conservation projects

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SVID Manager Jim Trull shares with the Sunnyside Division Board of Control a presentation he provided earlier this week in Olympia on conservation efforts here. Pictured at right is Lori Brady, an SVID assistant manager responsible for administration.

Sixty-two miles of pipe installed, three re-regulation reservoirs completed and 23 automated check structures are all part of a 10-year water conservation plan the Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District has taken on.

Progress on that plan was shared Monday of this week in Olympia by Jim Trull, SVID manager.

Lawmakers on the state Senate's Ag, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee asked Trull to appear and present results of the conservation efforts.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Trull shared that discussion with the Sunnyside Division Board of Control during its regular monthly meeting.

"It's a fun story to tell because the state has been involved in funding it," he told the board.

SVID received more than $20 million in federal stimulus funds for the conservation projects back in 2009.

As part of that grant package, SVID and the state of Washington each covered 17.5 percent of the project's cost. The federal government covered the remaining 65 percent.

Work in the Sunnyside Division enclosed irrigation canals and constructed automated check structures allowing SVID staff to remotely monitor water flow in the canals. Before that, staff had to check water levels by hand at the canals.

Trull says the visit in Olympia on Monday wasn't to seek funds, but to share the progress of this work.

"We weren't asking them for anything in particular," he said. "It was a way to say here are the benefits."

Those benefits included substantial improvements at the Sulphur Creek Wasteway. In just three years, the wasteway has seen a 95 percent reduction in the amount of agricultural run-off sediment.

In addition, the conservation projects have made it possible for irrigators to draw about 10 percent less water from the Yakima River

Trull praised state officials not only for their financial backing, but ramping up the pace of support to meet tight time guidelines for the stimulus funds.

"Washington state's been a great partner in this. I think our state is one of the most supportive of any of the western states for water resources," Trull said. "It helped us get federal money because the state was willing to pay a match."

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