Reclamation announces Yakima basin water supply - May forecast

Media Contact: Annette Ross, (208) 378-5322,

For Release: May 06, 2019

YAKIMA, Wash. – The Bureau of Reclamation’s May 2019 Total Water Supply Available forecast for the Yakima basin indicates the water supply will fully satisfy senior water rights. Junior water rights will receive an estimated 75% of their entitlements this irrigation season. The Yakima basin reservoir storage is currently 86% of average, and the snowpack is between 65% and 70% of average.

“The precipitation was robust in the first half of April with 15 inches falling by April 19. The month finished with a total of 15.9 inches, 115% of average,” said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor. Because longer term weather conditions can be unpredictable, Garner recommends water conservation always be a part of water usage in the Yakima basin.

Reclamation will provide water supply forecasts monthly through July. Specific water delivery levels will be determined later in the year after reservoir storage is released to meet demands.

The May forecast is based on flows, precipitation, snowpack and reservoir storage as of May 1, along with estimates of future precipitation and river flows. Other future weather conditions that determine the timing of the snowmelt and the demand for water also are critical in determining streamflows, prorations and the extent to which the reservoirs fill.

“We have seen alternately wet months and dry months this year. We are hoping May will be moderately wet and not too warm,” says Garner.

For more information, visit Reclamation’s website at

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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 and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

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