How the Fruitvale Canal system works – July, 2006

The Fruitvale Canal diverts water for the New Schanno – Broadgauge – RS&C Ditch and the Fruitvale Schanno Ditch and a number of other customers called Fruitvale Users. The City does not own any water rights in this canal. The ditch companies listed above own all of the water rights. Fruitvale Schanno and the Fruitvale Users are entirely private and City is not involved in their systems. The other companies are private and have a set of their own customers along with the City as a customer. The City buys water through shares from New Schanno-Broadgauge – RS&C Ditch to serve City customers. Water from this ditch company is sent to several pumps to serve our customers.

Why no or low water

When the Naches River flow is low as it usually is in July and August it is very difficult to divert enough water to meet all of the irrigation demand. The low water causes delivery problems for most of the diversions on the Naches River. There are about 15 other diversions on the Naches River, most of which are above the Fruitvale Canal diversion. As these other diversions continue improve their diversion to take as much water as they’re entitled to, we get even less water. For us to modify or improve our diversion, we must obtain permission from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) through a “Hydraulic Permit”. WDFW has been reluctant to grant us permission to modify our diversion works for a variety of reasons. WDFW is concerned that the work they allow the City to do will not meet the regulations of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Federal Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corp of Engineers and/or Department of Ecology, and are concerned that someone could sue the WDFW for allowing us to do work in the river since steelhead and bull trout are both on the endangered species list.

Are the customers located in any particular area(s) ?

City of Yakima customers in the King, Lenox, 9th Avenue, DeAtley Park and Fruitvale systems.

Private ditch company customers in the Fruitvale/Schanno and, New Schanno-Broadgauge – RS&C systems.

What we have done!

We continue to make sure that none of the ditches have any spill (water that just goes back to the river). We make sure all ditches are getting about equal amounts of water. We have a project in the budget to look at solutions for a permanent diversion fix. Once a design is completed, we’ll need to get approval from at least 6 different agencies, and then we could begin construction. Agency approvals could take at least one-year. A permanent fix, if all goes well, could be in place by 2007/2008.

Mike Shane
Water/Irrigation Engineer
City of Yakima
Water/Irrigation Division