Water storage expanding in Othello

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OTHELLO — The City of Othello will receive $750,000 for a new 2.5 million-gallon water reservoir from a Community Development Block Grant allocated by the Washington state Department of Commerce, adding to two existing water storage tanks supplying the city with reliable water year-round.

Othello is just one of 17 cities and counties receiving a portion of the state CDBG program funds, totaling $10.5 million in 2018. The state CDBG program receives money annually from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is then allocated specifically to rural projects that benefit lower-income populations.

With one of the most rapidly growing populations in Adams County, the city has faced difficulties with water storage in the past, said Othello Mayor Shawn Logan. Three and a half years ago, during the summer of 2015, the region experienced a heat wave that sent thermometers in Othello above 100 degrees for 40 days in a row.

With water storage strained, the city was forced to ration water, a measure Logan said the city has not experienced in recent years, and fireworks displays were canceled during the summer.

Now, having recently received money for a new well and now a grant for a new water reservoir, the city is ensuring water security in years to come, Logan said. These are only two parts in a long term puzzle of water sustainability, and the city is currently looking at possibilities for recharging the aquifer that supplies local well-water, as well as a wastewater reuse facility.

The tower will be located on the corner of North 14th Avenue and Lee Road, adjacent to a nearby irrigation canal.

“We’re working on a plan that will sustain water in Othello for the next 50 years, maybe 75,” Logan said. “As you look down the road, this is a necessary part of growth in Othello.”

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