$1.8M granted to Walla Walla-area water groups

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WALLA WALLA — Three local organizations are slated to receive more than $1.8 million in grants to help improve water supplies in the Walla Walla River basin.

The groups are among 12 jurisdictions and water management partners chosen by the state Department of Ecology for water supply and fish habitat project funding.

Thirteen grants totaling $7.9 million are being awarded for work through the summer of 2015.

The largest grant, $836,000 was awarded to the Walla Walla Basin Watershed Council for aquifer replenishment and spring restoration projects.

The second-largest grant, $590,000, was to the Walla Walla Watershed Management Partnership to support acquisition of water rights to improve stream flows.

The third grant of $400,000 goes to the Walla Walla County Conservation District to improve water metering in the river basin.

The grant money comes from a $10 million appropriation the Legislature authorized last year to benefit water supply and fish habitat in 10 of the state’s 62 distinct drainage basins.

In a release, Water Resources Program Manager Tom Loranger said the local watershed projects are vitally important for regional economies.

“They support local jobs and growth by helping give communities more certainty about water needs and availability that will help support future development,” he said.

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