Lower Valley farms enter 2nd week without water; millions may be lost

Lower Valley farms enter 2nd week without water; millions may be lost
WAPATO, WA. -- A broken irrigation pump has left dozens of farmers without water in record-breaking heat.

Some Lower Valley farms have been dry for two weeks. They say their crops are in jeopardy and they're not getting answers from those in charge.

Dean Holocomb's fields of corn and hay spread as far as the eye can see.

He says without water it will all be destroyed in a few days.

"This farmer's going to be in big trouble, big loss,” Dean said. “You know several hundred thousand dollars."

Dean's not alone.

A broken pump at the Water Irrigation Project left lower valley farmers without water for the past two weeks. The dry spell stretches from Wapato and Harrah to White Swan.

In the midst of record-breaking heat, Dean tells me farmers are on edge.

What's equally frustrating is that Dean says he's gotten no answers or explanation from the irrigation district, as his crops begin to wither.
"All this corn here is at real high stress,” Dean said.

KIMA spoke to a crew working on the irrigation pump. They tell me they're working round the clock to make the repair. KIMA asked if the irrigation district has a message for farmers who are waiting for water.

"Well, you know, I only see what's here. I can't see the big picture, who they're talking to, whatever. You know, all I can say is our hands are dirty."

Worker John Monjaraz said it's taking so long because they're replacing the entire pump, not just making a repair.

"This is where I was raised and grew up, so we're really concerned with what's going on,” John said.

He's not sure when the work will be complete.

KIMA called the Wapato Irrigation District several times but couldn’t get through.

"We're in trouble,” Dean said. “If we don't have water on this field, we are in trouble."

Irrigation crews hope to have temporary pumps in place soon. KIMA will continue to follow this story.