Roza Irrigation Says They're Planning Ahead For Next Year's Seas - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Roza Irrigation Says They're Planning Ahead For Next Year's Season

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SUNNYSIDE, WA.- This year's irrigation season just ended, so most of you probably aren't thinking about next summer quite yet, but one district is thinking ahead and they're already planing for the worst case scenario.

The Roza Irrigation District is relatively new, so they only receive junior water rights, meaning if they see another season like this past one they could be in trouble.  


We sat down with their management Tuesday afternoon to talk strategy, they told us they're already planning,  in fact a new pump system is new the works.  


They're working on installing a pump system that would take water from Kachess Reservoir and distribute it to around 50,000 acres. 


The project would end up costing around $58 million, but they say it's worth it in the grand scheme of things, especially if their worst case scenario of only 35% water supply comes true next year.

"If we have a serious drought year you're looking at $200 million to $400 million in crop loss, so to spend 50 or 60 million to get water, it does make sense," Roza Irrigation Engineer Manager, Wayne Sonnichsen explained.


They told us it would only add about 13% to their projected water supply, that might not seem like a lot but they say it's crucial. Any increase in water supply means growers will have a guarantee of stronger crop. Meaning the banks who supply these growers with loans will be more willing to work with them, even after a less than average season.


The Roza Irrigation District is hoping to have the new pump installed by July of 2016.