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Pacific Northwest Region
Boise, Idaho
Media Contact:
Kate Puckett
509-575-5848 Ext. 205

Released On: March 08, 2004

Reclamation Announces March Water Supply Forecast for Yakima Basin
The Bureau of Reclamation has just released the March 2004 forecast for irrigation water supply, according to Kate Puckett, Yakima Project river operations supervisor. The forecast is based on flow data, current snowpack and this year's precipitation data, Puckett said.

The March 2004 forecast indicates a full water supply for all water right users if precipitation for the remainder of the season is at least average and if the snow pack melts favorably. "Even if future conditions are favorable, the water supply will be tight, but likely adequate," Puckett said. Current system storage is only 74% of average.

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, given a range of future precipitation, are as follows:

With 50% normal subsequent conditions

84% supply for junior users

With 100% normal subsequent conditions

100% supply for junior users

With 150% normal subsequent conditions

100% supply for junior users

Irrigation districts and water users are urged to apply their own judgement 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.

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 possible rationing levels. If warm, dry weather prompts an early run-off, the situation could worsen.

Reservoir storage on March 1

Reservoir

Content (acre-feet)

Total Capacity

Percent of Capacity

Keechelus

66,778

157,800

42

Kachess

110,608

239,000 

46

Cle Elum

171,066

436,900 

39

Bumping

10,368

33,700 

31

Rimrock

92,923

198,000 

47

Totals

451,743

1,065,400 

42

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