DOE considers on-farm ponds funding

The state’s first drought in a decade has officials with the Department of Ecology considering helping growers pay to install on-farm ponds.

That’s according to discussions Tuesday during the Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District’s board meeting.

Jim Trull, SVID district manager, shared with the board that Ecology officials are seeking written input on the benefits of ponds to help farmers manage their irrigation needs.

“It’s another tool in the tool box,” Trull said yesterday.

There could be a benefit to irrigation districts, as well.

Dave Bos, an assistant manager with SVID, noted the initial surge of water needed to start some on-farm irrigation sprayers can be a jolt to the district’s system, temporarily ratcheting up water demand.

Ponds, he offered, might be a way to help mitigate the issue, helping both growers and irrigation districts.

At this point, the Department of Ecology is considering assisting farmers with the cost of the ponds as a way to help with relief for short-water summers…like the current one.

In drought-related discussion yesterday, Bos noted reservoirs are holding up at 90 percent of capacity while precipitation to date is 89 percent of average.

SVID’s board and the Sunnyside Division Board of Control will next meet on Tuesday, July 7, at 1:30 p.m. at SVID’s main office, 120 S. 11th. St. in Sunnyside.


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