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Chelan PUD commissioners approve Lake Chelan water rights agreements with Washington Dept. of Ecology

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The vote includes Amendment 1 to the 1992 Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding to establish the estimate of water available for permitting.

WENATCHEE, WA – Chelan County PUD Commissioners Tuesday approved two agreements related to the Lake Chelan water rights reserve between the Chelan PUD and the Washington State Dept. of Ecology (Ecology): (1) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Related to Water Rights Allocations from the Lake Chelan and Reserve Accounting, along with (2) the first Amendment Concerning Water Right Certificate #319 with Ecology.

The commissioners first were briefed on the MOU and Amendment at their Aug. 7 commission meeting. Chelan County submitted public comment at the Sept. 5 Commission meeting public session in support of the Agreements. No additional public comment was received.

Commissioner Ann Congdon thanked PUD staff Marcie Clement, Michelle Smith and Karen Wiggum for their work on the agreement stating that it was an important step to move the process forward and to ensure an annual accounting for the Lake Chelan Water Reserve.

Today’s action allows Ecology and Chelan County to move ahead to begin a Cost Reimbursement program in order to begin assessing and processing long-standing water permit applications for the Lake Chelan Water Basin. The agreements between Chelan PUD and Ecology affirm and maintain Chelan PUD’s commitment to provide 65,000 acre-feet of water per year from Lake Chelan (Lake Chelan Reserve) – as administered by Ecology.

It also establishes business rules for identifying both surface and groundwater rights covered by the Lake Chelan Reserve; identifies the boundaries of the Lake Chelan Water Basin where the Lake Chelan Reserve applies; and provides for a transparent ongoing accounting of water rights issued from the Lake Chelan Reserve. The agreements protect Chelan PUD’s hydropower water right for the Lake Chelan Hydro Project.

The agreements establish an estimated number for the remaining amount available for water rights. In addition, it establishes an annual accounting by Ecology of remaining water, based on the agreed-to methodology to update the amount available. More details about the Lake Chelan Reserve can be found here.

In other PUD Commission Business:

1. Approved an agreement in the amount of $635,000 to Open Access Technology International (OATI) for energy accounting software. The software is an essential part of the District’s management of its power purchaser contracts to ensure generation is allocated properly. The service was previously provided by a third party and now the District energy planning staff will perform the function. OATI will host the software application for the District;

2. Agreed to a $468,599.82 increase for Field Work Orders #1 – 7 with K&N Electric motors of Spokane Valley for Rocky Reach bridge crane refurbishment. These cranes were installed in 1955 and are critical to powerhouse operations for routine maintenance and major repairs. During work on the cranes, a District evaluation team identified the need for replacement the cranes main hoist reducers instead of refurbishment, as well as the need to increase the electrical buss system from 400 Amp to 800 Amp to ensure continued reliability;

3. Heard an update on from Brett Bickford, Engineering and Project Management director and Dan Garrison, Hydro Operations director about the risk assessment related to Rock Island B1 – B4 modernization project. In December 2016, commissioners approved moving forward on the simultaneous modernization in order to create greater efficiency, save costs, finish work earlier and meet the 2020 Habitat Conservation Plan check-in. Thirty-three potential risks were identified and assessed with the help of an outside consultant. The analysis concluded that risks have been identified and mitigation measures are in the process of being implemented prior to proceeding with the field work scheduled to begin in 2018. Two additional operators will be hired in the fall of 2017 to ensure an adequate workforce availability. The next update to commissioners will be in the Spring of 2018.

4. Briefed on an invitation to General Manager Steve Wright to provide testimony at a Sept. 12 Congressional hearing: Powering America: Valuing Reliability in a Transforming Electricity Industry.

Upcoming events:

  • Sept. 18 – Board meeting, 10 a.m.  
  • Sept. 19 – Board workshop, 9 a.m., CTC Boardroom
  • Sept. 28-29 – Wenatchee River Salmon Festival, Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery
  • Oct. 1 – Museum of the Columbia at Rocky Reach closes for the season
  • Oct. 1-7 – Public Power Week – Get In The Game energy conservation campaign
  • Nov. 10 – Visitor Center and Rocky Reach Park close for the season

The next regular Chelan PUD commission meeting starts at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave. 

Chelan PUD records most commission meetings, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at www.chelanpud.org. Find us on Facebook.com/ChelanPUD and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD.

(By Suzanne Hartman, Chelan County PUD)

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