News Release Archive

Yakima Basin Water Supply - March Forecast Released

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

For Release: March 09, 2015

YAKIMA, Wash. - The Bureau of Reclamation's March 2015 Total Water Supply Available forecast for the Yakima Basin indicates a full water supply for senior water rights during the 2015 irrigation season, but an estimated 73 percent supply for junior water rights.

"We are expecting a below normal water supply with a moderate shortage to junior users," said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor. "The snowpack, which is considered the Yakima Basin's sixth reservoir, is extremely low right now. Fortunately, the five Yakima Project reservoirs are nearly full which is tremendous for this time of year."

Reclamation will issue water supply forecasts monthly through July. Specific water delivery levels will be determined later in the spring when natural flows can no longer meet Yakima system demands and Yakima Project reservoir storage is released for irrigation demands.

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 help 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 upcoming weather conditions will have a significant impact on the water supply this season," Garner said. "Right now we don't see any good storms on the horizon."

In the event that spring precipitation and runoff are unfavorable, Reclamation expects the water supply available for junior users to decline. Since longer term weather conditions are unpredictable, Garner recommends that water conservation be considered by all users in the Yakima Basin.

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