Ecology Monitoring Irrigation Water from Columbia River - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ecology Monitoring Irrigation Water from Columbia River

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KENNEWICK, Wash.- Surprising results in the effort to manage irrigation usage from the Columbia River.

The Department of Ecology wants to know how much water is being lost to irrigation.

The State wants to better forecast how water levels in the river here will change as irrigation levels here change so they're asking everyone who pumps from the river to report how much they're taking.

They've allocated about a $1 million to helping farmers get equipment to monitor their usage, and already had about 80% of users here in the Mid-Columbia voluntarily report their numbers.

Their goal for the project is full participation by October.

This is part of a plan that requires the state to publish all water usage for the Columbia and Lower Snake Rivers by 2009.

They want to use that to develop a more comprehensive long term plan for managing the Columbia River's water system.