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Inslee proposes $23.6 million for Yakima Basin water projects


OLYMPIA -- Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed $23.6 million in capital funds for projects outlined in the Yakima River Integrated Water Management Plan.



Projects are intended to restore fisheries and meet the needs of agriculture, municipalities and a growing population.



Recommended activities include:



* $20.9 million for water supply projects such as increasing storage at Lake Cle Elum, enlarging Bumping Lake, constructing a pipeline to connect Lake Keechelus and Lake Kachess and modifying the Lake Kachess reservoir. Other activities include restoring habitat, constructing fish passage facilities and diverting power to support salmon migration. The Integrated Plan incorporates nearly 50,000 acre-feet of water. The projects are expected to generate 316 jobs and $43.5 million in economic benefits.



* $700,000 to purchase existing senior water rights to provide seed water for establishing and operating basin water banks. Water banking facilitates legal transfer and market exchange of surface, groundwater and storage entitlements. The banks ease water transfers and make water available for new uses.



* $700,000 for the Department of Ecology, state agencies and local governments to coordinate and implement the projects and programs.



-- Steve Brown



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