May 27, 2021

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04) toured Kennewick Irrigation District’s (KID) facilities and spoke with the KID Board of Directors regarding water supplies in the Lower Yakima River Basin and the pending title transfer from the Bureau of Reclamation. He also toured the future reservoir site and canal lining project.

“This title transfer is a win-win. It will allow KID to more efficiently manager water supplies, while also reducing federal liabilities and providing a cost savings benefit to the federal government. Water providers across our region and across the West face numerous challenges to supply water, including growing demand, aging infrastructure, and changing precipitation patterns,” said Rep. Newhouse. “By transferring the title to a local entity like Kennewick, water suppliers can better manage critical water resources and enable water managers to be as responsive, efficient, and innovative as possible in serving the community.”

On Monday, Rep. Newhouse questioned David Palumbo, Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, during the House Committee on Appropriations Energy & Water Subcommittee Hearing about the status of the title transfer. Mr. Palumbo confirmed that the transfer was on track for completion by summer.

Background:

  • Rep. Newhouse introduced legislation authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to transfer the title of certain U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) assets to the Kennewick Irrigation District (KID) in July 2018 in the 115th Congress and again in January 2019 in the 116th Congress. Click here to learn more.
  • The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, signed into law by President Trump in 2019, created a process for title transfers to be completed administratively.
  • Rep. Newhouse has been working with both KID and BOR to complete this process and transfer title of works beginning at KID’s head gate extending 40 miles east.
  • The transfer conveys title for the facilities managed and operated by KID. It does not privatize federal water projects or properties within the BOR.
  • KID has completed an environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as all necessary Endangered Species Act, National Historical Preservation Act, and hazardous review processes.
  • KID and BOR ensured that all stakeholders, tribal concerns, and local interests had a seat at the table throughout the process and included an open public comment period from March-April 2020.
  • In addition to ensuring the proper reviews are completed, KID will repay their allocated share of construction costs to the federal government.