Yakima Basin Water Supply - March Forecast Released

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Chuck Garner, (509) 575-5848 ext. 205

For Release: March 07, 2011

The Bureau of Reclamation's March 2011, Total Water Supply Available (TWSA) forecast for the Yakima Basin indicates a full water supply for both senior and junior water rights.

"We are expecting a near normal water supply at this time," said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor. "We expect the snowmelt runoff to be sufficient to fill the reservoirs and help provide for early season demands. If spring precipitation and runoff are unfavorable we may have a below average but adequate supply."

At this time both junior and senior water rights holders are expected to receive their full water supply. The water supply forecast will be updated each month through July. Specific water delivery levels will not be determined until later in the year when the reservoir system's storage begins to decline.

The March TWSA forecast is based on flows, precipitation, snowpack, and reservoir storage as of March 1 along with estimates of future precipitation and river flows. Other future weather conditions that determine the timing of the run-off and the demand for water are also critical in determining streamflows, prorationing, and the extent to which the reservoirs fill.

"Precipitation and snow fall from late January through February have been below average even after the last week of February's comeback performance," Garner said. "On the other hand, the Yakima Basin weather outlook is favorable and the reservoir system is very healthy at 150 percent of average, which is 82 percent of capacity."

Garner also noted that the water supply can be enhanced through water conservation and other sensible water use practices.

For more information visit our website at http://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/yakima

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