Wenatchee & Entiat River Irrigation Modernization
Chelan County is located within North Central Washington and includes the Wenatchee and Entiat watersheds. Both watersheds provide spawning, rearing and migratory habitat for endangered spring Chinook, steelhead, and bull trout, as well as support a verdant valley and agricultural economy centered on fruit production.
Frequent drought as well as hotter and drier growing seasons have put increasing stress on fruit trees. Fruit size, fruit quality, and crop yields have all been impacted, with particular stress to pear orchards where declining yields threaten profitability.
The Cascadia Conservation District (CCD), along with Washington State University (WSU) Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center will partner with pear growers in the region to launch a pilot program that will address major challenges in pear orchards. The program will establish demonstration plots that implement site-specific irrigation upgrades that improve water use efficiency at the farm level, create opportunities for improvements to irrigation delivery infrastructure, and develop efficiency strategies to provide a framework for scalability and cost savings.
This project helps producers adapt to changing growing conditions while also supporting the region’s rivers and fish. Projects will increase water use efficiency, maintain a strong, profitable farming community, and decrease pressure on water resources critical to maintaining healthy fish populations.
* Project supports agricultural water use efficiency to reduce the amount of water withdrawn from surface or groundwater sources.