East Improvement District & IRZ Consulting Dedicate Largest New Irrigation Pumping Station on the Columbia River in 40 Years.
The most efficient and largest irrigation pumping station built on the Columbia River in the last 40 years was officially dedicated on Tuesday, May 11.
“This project took many years to finance and develop,” Carl St. Hilaire, chairman of the East Improvement District (EID) said. “The key to its success was the tireless efforts of every farmer-member and the excellent technical team of engineers, legal and financial experts that helped us make it happen.”
The over $50 million East Project irrigation system pumping station was developed by EID (a partnership of seven local farming entities) with IRZ Consulting of Hermiston who provided the engineering design and construction management.
Representatives from UEC joined state and local elected officials, farmers and other dignitaries in celebration of this historic project.
Fred Ziari, president of IRZ Consulting said, “We have designed over 2,000 systems in the last 35 years, but this is the largest and most efficient system we have ever designed, and we are proud of it. During the year-long construction phase IRZ used more than 100 people, contractors and suppliers.”
The East Project irrigation system will replace precious groundwater with surface water. Fiber optic communication connects pumps, motors and delivery points to measure flow, pressure and status of each device. This information is available to farmers in real time using their smart phones.
The irrigation system has the potential to irrigate 25,000 acres. Its nine high efficiency motors have a total of 19,000 horsepower or 14 MW of power and can pump nearly 100,000 gallons per minute during peak of summer.
State Representative Bobby Levy said, “Eastern Oregon is the world leader in agricultural productivity and this project will have a significant impact on the future of our local economy.”
The East Project will expand the capability to grow more high value crops and add additional agricultural food processing and manufacturing jobs.
Irrigated farms contribute over $2 billion to the local economy. Similar irrigation projects in recent years have made a significant contribution to the agricultural growth of Eastern Oregon and the State of Oregon.