State, feds celebrate new Columbia River project



MOSES LAKE, Wash. (AP) — State and federal officials are celebrating the first major project to deliver Columbia River water to Eastern Washington farmers and communities since the 1970s.

The project enables the delivery of irrigation water to farmers who have been drawing groundwater from a declining aquifer to irrigate 7,000 acres of crops. It also allows for more water to remain in the river at specific times of year to boost stream flows for threatened and endangered fish.

State and federal officials will sign an agreement Tuesday to enable new water rights to as many as 100 communities along the river as well.

Water for these projects will be drawn from Lake Roosevelt behind Grand Coulee Dam, under a 2006 bill approved by the Legislature to find new water supplies for the region.