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Yakama Nation And Roza Irrigation District Want To Move Past Black Rock

Two big water users in Eastern Washington are calling for reconsideration of the biggest dam on the drawing boards in the Northwest. The proposed Black Rock dam would be as large as Grand Coulee and cost more than $6 billion. Richland Correspondent Anna King has more.

Yakima Valley farmer Ric Valicoff does not dispute the need for more water storage. He’s had to tear out withered trees during pervious droughts. But the president of the Roza Irrigation District says the proposed Black Rock Reservoir in Yakima County is not the solution.

The irrigation district and the Yakama Indian Nation wrote a joint letter to the federal government saying the reservoir is rife with problems.

Ric Valicoff: "We’re trying to get something else started as an alternative that’s a very valid one. But we need to get someone’s ear so that they will listen and understand and really look into that and study it as seriously as they are studying Black Rock."

The letter signers want an expansion of Bumping Lake or Wymer Reservoir in the Cascades.

The farmer says he's concerned that Black Rock has a low cost-benefit ratio and could potentially leak water under the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.