Yakima Basin Water Supply - March Forecast

Media Contact: Annette Ross, (208) 378-5322, aross@usbr.gov

For Release: March 07, 2019

YAKIMA, Wash. – The Bureau of Reclamation’s March 2019 Total Water Supply Available (TWSA) forecast for the Yakima basin indicates the water supply will fully satisfy senior water rights while the junior water rights will receive an estimated 90 percent of their entitlements this irrigation season.

“We in the water business are grateful for the February snowfall in the Yakima basin after the very poor January snowfall,” said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor. “The mountain snowpack that feeds our reservoirs is only 80 to 90 percent of average range. However, this should provide the Yakima Project an adequate water supply this coming irrigation season.”

Reclamation will provide water supply forecasts monthly through July. Specific water delivery levels will not be determined until later in the year after reservoir storage is released to meet 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 determine the timing of the runoff and the demand for water also are critical in determining streamflows, prorations, and the extent to which the reservoirs fill.

“We still have several key months ahead of us that can have a big influence on the ultimate water supply this summer,” says Garner.

If spring precipitation and runoff are unfavorable, Reclamation still expects an adequate supply. Because longer term weather conditions can be unpredictable, Garner recommends water conservation always be a part of water usage in the Yakima basin.

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

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

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