New Well for LOID

In an effort to stay litigation, the Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District (LOID) and the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nez Perce Tribe in July 2009.  Other signers included Nez Perce County, the City of Lewiston and the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce.  The project is known as the Lower Clearwater Exchange Project (LCEP).  The LCEP group’s objective is to explore and pursue the potential of constructing an alternate water supply replacing the surface water system currently used by LOID for the delivery of irrigation water.  The alternate system must provide a safe and reliable quantity of irrigation water to landowners within the District and provide permanent resolution of the Endangered Species Act and Federal/Tribal Trust issues surrounding the system.

In August 2013, the Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District entered into a Cooperative Agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation to complete design and construction for a pilot groundwater well project to investigate the practicality of a well field as an alternative water supply.  The pilot well will be drilled to provide water in exchange for a proportional amount of the LOID irrigation water currently supplied through the surface water system which has its source on Craig Mountain.  The objective of the new well is to partially resolve impacts to endangered steelhead and their habitat caused by surface withdrawals of irrigation water.

In an effort to provide a more reliable source of irrigation water for landowners in the Lewiston Orchards, the LOID purchased land off of 10th Street and Powers Avenue.  With financial assistance from the BOR, the site will be home to a new deep water well.  Drilling is slated to begin in early October 2014.  LOID is prepared to drill up to 1,900 linear feet deep in order to obtain the target production yield of 2,000 gallons per minute.  Drilling could continue through Spring 2015.  If the well is productive, a gallon for gallon exchange will be made with surface water from the Craig Mountain watershed going to the fish and well water going to the irrigation system.  Contingent on the success of this pilot well, the BOR has committed to funding additional wells to replace the entire groundwater system from the Craig Mountain watershed.