2020 was a very busy year for the Roza Irrigation District, and it looks like that trend will continue into the New Year. District Manager Scott Revell said they spent roughly $2.5 million to enclose area lateral canals, while also putting the finishing touches on a four year project to clean out the 95-mile long main canal. He noted the district also looked at how the water system might be impacted in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak among staff. Revell said the pandemic could potentially have severe impacts on their ability to deliver water, so they worked up a contingency plan.
“So if we have a bunch of employees who are sick…we can’t just walk away from the system because it takes four to five days to fill it up and four to five days to drain it. So we have fairly detailed plans in place. Kind of a graduated, flexible response depending on how many people are out.”
As for 2021, Revell said the long range forecast looks favorable, with a colder, wetter winter predicted due to La Niña.
“We’re always a little nervous because the districts in the Yakima Basin rely on low elevation snow, particularly below 3,000 feet. We can build snow into March and April often, but it can also run off. If you get a warm rain event, if you get a Pineapple Express or something, a big chunk of the supply can go very quickly.”
The snow level for the Lower Yakima Basin was 135% of normal to start the snow year.
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