The Bureau of Reclamation is out with its latest Water Supply Available Forecast, and the news is good for Central Washington growers. Reclamation’s June forecast for the Yakima basin indicates the water supply will adequately satisfy senior and junior water rights this irrigation season. Thanks to an ample snowpack, and favorable spring rains, area reservoirs remain in good shape.
Water supply forecast are provided monthly through July.
“The Basin weather has oscillated from month to month; a very wet April was followed by a very warm and “dry” May. The rapid and heavy snowmelt in May brought on very high flows and has exhausted much of the snowpack.” said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor. “Never-the-less, with the reservoirs full, the Yakima basin water supply for the 2018 season will be adequate to fully meet demands this season.”
This forecast is based on flows, precipitation, snowpack, and reservoir storage as of June 1, along with estimates of future precipitation and river flows. Other future weather conditions that determine the timing of the runoff, and the demand for water also are critical in determining streamflows, prorations, and the extent to which the reservoirs fill.
If spring precipitation and runoff are unfavorable, Reclamation still expects an adequate supply. Because longer term weather conditions can be unpredictable, Garner recommends water conservation always be considered by users in the Yakima basin.
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