The Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District is increasing their water rates after narrowly avoiding disaster this year.

The district serves approximately 10,000 acres in East Wenatchee, Brays Landing near Orondo and Howard Flats in Chelan.

Water stems from low-lying areas and the Columbia River, with a good portion of this system built in the 1960s.

Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District Manager Craig Gyselinck says their aging infrastructure is contributing to the degradation of pipelines, pumps, and motors.

In 2022, the district had a $2.5 million operating budget. During that time, they faced up to $1.1 million in unbudgeted emergency repairs.

These repairs ate up the district’s reserves and delayed scheduled capital improvement projects.

Gyselinck said they narrowly avoided a disaster, beginning the season with only 30% of their water capacity due to major pumps breaking in East Wenatchee.

In 2023, the district is proposing a $3.8 million operating budget to help replenish their reserve fund and replace parts of their infrastructure.

Overall, rates are set to increase 51% for everyone, with some users seeing a  77% increase in water rates and others seeing a reduction.

In 2022, agricultural rate payers paid roughly $44 per acre foot for water. Next year that rate will increase to $78.57 per acre foot. Residential rate payers paid an annual $250-300, and that rate is set to increase to $375.

Currently, the district is seeking public input and invites the public to contact them with questions or to attend their next board meeting on Oct. 4, 2022

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