$500,000 for Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer Study Coming to Eastern Washington

Oct 29 2003

Congress approves final FY2004 Interior Appropriations bill, includes $500,000 Murray secured for water study

(Washington, D.C.) – The half-million dollars Senator Patty Murray secured to study the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer will become law. The House-Senate conference committee has finished its conference report, and both chambers will give final approval before it is sent to the President for his signature.

“Eastern Washington families deserve to know that when they turn on the faucet there will be water available,” Murray said. “This federal funding will help us find out. I am proud to have helped provide this funding and I appreciate the efforts of Sen. Craig to get it done.”

Federal funding for the aquifer study would have been available last year, but the House of Representatives provided nothing in the House version of the FY2003 Interior spending bill. Despite Murray’s efforts in pushing the funding through the Senate last year, the House position prevailed during the conference committee and the funding was stripped out.

This year, Murray again made the aquifer study funding one of her top priorities, and ultimately succeeded.

The need for the study stemmed from proposals to build three power plants in Idaho which would draw down 20 million gallons of water per day from the Aquifer, which is the sole source of drinking water for about 400,000 people in the region. Rather than approve the permits for the power plants, local governments, business leaders and environmental organizations agreed that more information about the Aquifer is needed.

The U.S. Geological Survey has entered into an agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology and the Idaho Departments of Water Resources and Environmental Quality to develop a work plan for the Aquifer Study. Both states have also committed resources to support the Study.