Water not flowing for KID customers weeks into the season

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The irrigation water isn't flowing for a number of Kennewick Irrigation District customers. One neighborhood just got its water, days before temperatures are set to hit 80 degrees.

Ray Davenport lives off Olympia Avenue in Kennewick. Until Sunday night, his entire block was still without irrigation water.

"I don't know if it's happened this long before, but you can't do much until the water gets to you," he said.

That block is one of a handful of places around town where the water was supposed to be turned on back on Apr. 15. But that didn't happen.

Ray says he felt strung along. A few days for the fix turned into almost three weeks.

"The answer I'd get over and over was that they kept having a pump problem," he said.

Ray was able to salvage his yard, but his neighbors had just put new sod in. They had to use city water to save their grass. They, along with many others around town, are irate.

A quick skim of the KID website shows where they're experiencing problems, but it doesn't say when they'll be fixed.

Reps with KID refused an on-camera interview, citing a problem with a previous story we had done, but they did say they're experiencing substantially fewer problems than they have in years past in terms of customers complaining about irrigation.

The district says it recently started a seven-day-a-week work crew program, so they can tackle the problems more quickly.

Ray is happy he can water his lawn, but he says, after 20 years, he's getting skeptical of how an irrigation district that's been around for almost a century can still have issues year after year.

"Sometimes you can't tell if something's going to break or something isn't going to work right. So I'll give them the benefit of the doubt as long as I get an answer that makes sense," he said.

Rates for KID range anywhere from $20 to $800 each year. The people who are experiencing outages will not receive prorated bills.

We referenced the media blackout from KID. This has gone on for four years now, since we covered a story in 2010 on how much the district was spending on public information. That story is linked on this page.

Ever since that story aired, no one from KID has been willing to go on camera with KEPR.