Transfer supports local management of water supplies

For Immediate Release: February 1, 2022

Contact: Amanda Fitzmorris, (202) 317-0098

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) participated in a title transfer ceremony with Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) Commissioner Camille Touton for both the Kennewick Irrigation District (KID) and the Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District (GWID). Rep. Newhouse released the following statement in support of the title transfers:

“This day has been a long time coming, and I am pleased to see the efforts by our local water managers and operators who have been laying the groundwork and effectively advocating for local management of our resources come to fruition in this title transfer. By transferring BOR works to local entities like KID and GWID, our critical water resources can be managed by those who know our needs best, the men and women who live, work, and farm right here in our communities,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Thanks to Commissioner Touton for her work in facilitating this transfer, this is exactly the kind of improvement we need to allow our irrigation districts to efficiently deliver water to our rural communities. Congratulations to the Kennewick and Greater Wenatchee Irrigation Districts and to all who so greatly benefit from their important work for our region.”

“I am excited to work on effective implementation of the Dingell Act because I believe in the mutual benefits the new title transfer process would have for water users and the federal government,” said Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton. “I am very proud to see the conveyance of these two federal title transfers to the Washington irrigation districts as a direct result of that effort.”

“Water managers, users, and federal partners rolled up their sleeves to get this job done. Title transfer puts the management of our region’s most vital resource – water – in the hands of those who live here and know it best, said Craig Gyselinck, Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District (GWID) Manager. The hard work by those who contributed to this success will be felt for years to come. I can’t wait to put the new benefits we’ve acquired through title transfer to work. The future is bright for the GWID and our region.”

“Title transfer is an essential part of the future of KID and our ability to best manage precious water resources for our ratepayers in an era of climate variability. We are grateful to Congressman Newhouse for his unwavering support of this endeavor, and we look forward to reaping the benefits that title transfer will provide to the Tri-Cities and the lower Yakima River basin through increased flexibility and efficiency in water management,” said Gene Huffman, President of the KID Board of Directors.

Background:

  •  Newhouse introduced legislation to authorize the Kennewick Irrigation District (KID) title transfer, which conveys title for the facilities managed and operated by KID. It does not privatize federal water projects or properties within the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR).
  • Last year, Rep. Newhouse toured KID facilities to learn how the upcoming title transfer would impact local communities. Read more here.
  • In August of 2021, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) transmitted official congressional notification of the proposed conveyance of title to the Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District (GWID).
  • In September of 2021, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) transmitted official congressional notification of the proposed conveyance of title to the Kennewick Irrigation District (KID).
  • As Chairman of the Western Caucus, Rep. Newhouse (WA-04) hosted a podcast with U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton, Kennewick Irrigation District Manager Chuck Freeman, and Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District Manager Craig Gyselinck to discuss the challenges and opportunities stemming from federal water infrastructure in Washington state and across the West.
  • 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.
  • The law requires the Administration to transmit a congressional notification of the proposed conveyance. Congress has 90 days to enact a joint resolution disapproving the conveyance.
  • After 90 days, under this title transfer, BOR will convey all rights, titles, and interest, including mineral interest, of the United States in and to the irrigation district subject to the terms and conditions included in the title transfer agreement.

Upon conveyance of title, the irrigation district will take ownership and manage these assets to meet current needs in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.