After applying fourteen years earlier, in early 2011 an ‘interruptible water service contract’ was granted to DNR by the Quincy-Columbia Basin Irrigation District. This allows for the irrigation of 243.2 acres of state school trust lands west of George. The parcel currently is leased to Robert Escure, who has expressed his enthusiasm for farming additional acres of the land that his family has leased for irrigated agriculture, grazing and wildlife habitat since 1985. The newly irrigated portion will grow high value crops such as potatoes, alfalfa, and corn.
Water will be delivered from a new canal turnout now under construction. Water will flow through one-quarter mile of new pipeline to the parcel. Plans are underway to install one full 125-acre circle and another 90-acre partial circle to be in production this year. This development will increase the annual income from this parcel of State Common School Trust land to help pay for building K-12 schools statewide. DNR looks for opportunities to increase trust income from the lands we manage, while seeking to sustain the health of the natural resources, and encourage informed public involvement in our efforts.
DNR manages nearly 30,000 acres of irrigated state trust lands in the Columbia Basin and throughout southeast Washington. Water is supplied from ground wells, river pump stations, and the Bureau of Reclamation irrigation canal systems.
Income from irrigated state lands alone provides between three and four million dollars annually to Common School and other state trusts.