Yakima Basin Water Supply - March Forecast Released

Media Contact: Annette Ross, (208) 378-5322
Chuck Garner, (509) 575-5848 ext. 205

For Release: March 06, 2014

YAKIMA, Wash. - The Bureau of Reclamation's March 2014 Total Water Supply Available forecast for the Yakima Basin indicates that there will be a full water supply for both senior and junior water rights this coming irrigation season.

"We are currently expecting the water supply to be near normal," said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor. "February snowfall was incredible with a nearly continuous stream of storms hitting the Cascades throughout much of the month. In February, the snowpack went from 54 percent to 95 percent of average in the upper basin and from 63 percent to 97 percent of average in the lower basin. This points out that the remaining spring conditions can have a significant impact on the eventual water supply this season."

Reclamation will issue water supply forecasts monthly through July. Specific water delivery levels will not be determined until later in the year after reservoir 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.

"The Yakima Basin weather outlook is favorable and the reservoir system storage on March 1 was a healthy 110 percent of average," Garner said. "We expect the reservoirs to fill and the runoff to provide for early season demands."

In the event that spring precipitation and runoff are unfavorable, Reclamation still expects an adequate supply. Since weather conditions can be unpredictable at times, Garner recommends that water conservation always be a consideration in the Yakima Basin.

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

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

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