Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District urges conservation as it searches for vital pumping equipment

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The Columbia River Pumphouse of the Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District in East Wenatchee.

EAST WENATCHEE – An effort to update the Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District’s aging pump systems has fallen victim to supply chain disruptions, leaving the irrigation system running at just 30% capacity this week.

The irrigation district, which serves 10,000 acres of orchards and homes from East Wenatchee to Chelan, is undertaking a $3 million upgrade to its main pumping station along the Columbia River – a 900 horsepower distribution point that supplies water upstream to a larger pumping station.

“We’ve completed most of that, but there are four primary pumps serving all of East Wenatchee,” District Manager Craig Gyselinck said Wednesday. “We had two, but the other two were pushed back due to supply chain issues. They are currently being built, in pieces, in Mexico and also in Texas.

With two motors missing, the GWID system can only transmit about 30% of its total volume to its users, Gyselinck explains. Cool, wet weather throughout early spring reduced demand and did not tax the system, but orchards and lawns will soon reach peak demand. Already, users have experienced low flows and even complete water cuts.

Gyselinck says the district is trying to sort out the situation. “We have divided the district into separate regions and we turn certain sections on and off on different days, depending on demand that morning. So it’s a very dynamic situation. It’s something we look at daily and try to move the water around to be as fair as possible. »

Gyselinck says it could be mid-July before all the pumps and motors purchased by the district are delivered and installed. In the meantime, they ask customers to conserve irrigation water whenever possible. Updates will be posted frequently on the district website.

The district serves East Wenatchee, Brays Landing and Howard Flats. Much of its infrastructure dates back to 1959, originally built by the US Bureau of Reclamation. The district itself was formed and took control of the system in 1974, but had to wait until last year for the Bureau to hand over title to all pipes, properties and rights of way.

The district took on a $6 million bond to fund the upgrade of the river plant and other necessary system upgrades.

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