Yakima Basin Water Supply Forecast Released

Media Contact: Kate Puckett , 509-575-5848 Ext. 205

For Release: April 20, 2004

The Bureau of Reclamation has completed a mid-month evaluation of irrigation water supply according to David Murillo, Yakima Project Manager. Specific water delivery levels will not be determined until later in the year and rationing is currently not in effect. Estimated water supplies for junior (proratable) users, given a range of future precipitation, vary from 65 percent to 82 percent. This is a significant reduction compared to the 85 percent likely forecast released on April 5. Senior water rights holders would receive a full supply.

A May water supply forecast will be released on May 7.

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. All users are encouraged to conserve water.

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

It is important for water users to stay within their state water rights limits, and to abide by limiting agreements, the 1945 Consent Decree, contracts, and the Aquavella Court Conditional Final Orders, as appropriate.

# # #

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.