Columbia Irrigation District Hopes Aquatic Weed Cutter Cuts Thei - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Columbia Irrigation District Hopes Aquatic Weed Cutter Cuts Their Problems

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The boat cuts through thick weeds in the water. The boat cuts through thick weeds in the water.

WEST RICHLAND, WA- Many people across the state of Washington have felt the consequences of a drought season, but the Columbia Irrigation District used an aquatic weed cutting boat to clear the waterways.

With this drought season being a rough one, the Columbia Irrigation District tried their best to do everything they could to make sure they can get all their customers the water they need.

A lot of weeds are clogging up the Yakima River.  Because of that, the water cannot flow into the canal near the Wanawish Dam to reach customers thirsting for water.  The Columbia Irrigation District is down to the last straw, so now they brought in an aquatic weed cutting boat.

"It's necessary.  This is our last resort. We've tried everything and we've had to resort to this," said Joel Teeley, Columbia Irrigation District General Manager.

The goal is to open up more channels in the water to get more flowing through the canal.  The boat cuts through the pond and star weeds, collects them and makes new paths.  That created more water flow.  Shortly after a path opened, the canal gates closed because it reached its water capacity.

"It's working.  We're going to continue and by the end of the day we should be done and have all of our water back," said Teeley.

The warmer water temperatures made more weeds grow and the water levels this year are almost down two feet.  Normally the district would spend more than $200,000 to use chemicals to clear the weeds in the canal, but they hope this new option is cheaper.  

The district serves parts of Richland, West Richland, Kennewick, and Finley.  Finley has been hurting the most.  Columbia Irrigation hoped the aquatic weed cutter, cuts down their problems. 

"We're completely out of water at the end of our canal, so it's going to give the people at the end their fair share," said Teeley.

Even though more water is flowing, the district said they will continue to have their same water restrictions.