Yakima Basin Water Supply - March Release

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

For Release: March 07, 2005

The Bureau of Reclamation has just released the March 2005 forecast for irrigation water supply, according to David Murillo, Yakima Project Manager. The forecast is based on flow data, current snow pack, and this year's precipitation data. It is a very unusual year and snow pack is extremely low, Murillo said.

The March 2005 forecast predicts a very short water supply for junior users even if precipitation for the remainder of the season is average. "Even if future conditions are favorable, the water supply is not adequate this year," Murillo said. This is due to an unusually small snow pack and less precipitation than average for the water year to date.

Specific water delivery levels will not be determined until later in the year. In all conditions listed below, senior water rights holders would receive their full water supply. Estimated water supplies for junior (proratable) users are as follows:

Low Estimate 14 percent supply for junior users Most Likely Estimate 34 percent supply for junior users High Estimate 58 percent supply for junior users

Irrigation districts and water users are urged to apply their own judgment in deciding which level of supply may be realized. Water demands requiring storage releases, even prior to storage control, may be charged to the users' total entitlement. The water supply can be improved through prudent use of water. Please conserve water.

Future precipitation is only one factor affecting the water supply. The weather conditions that determine the timing of the run-off and demand for water are critical in determining whether the reservoirs fill, the amount of water available for irrigation, and rationing levels.

Reservoir storage on March 6

Reservoir Content (acre-ft) Total Capacity percent of Capacity Keechelus 103,400 157,800 66 percent Kachess 131,435 239,000 55 percent Cle Elum 275,482 436,900 63 percent Bumping 27,676 33,700 82 percent Rimrock 155,400 198,000 78 percent Totals 693,393 1,065,400 65 percent

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