YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — There should be a healthy supply of water for farmers and fish in Washington state this season, despite a dry spring the last two months, a report said.
The state Bureau of Reclamation said farmers with junior water rights are expected to receive a 91% supply, slightly down from predictions in March estimating 96%, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported Friday.
The water supply for junior rights holders can often be reduced during water shortages to ensure senior rights holders get their allotment amount, department officials said. Senior water rights holders are expected to receive full allocations this season.
March and April received about 45% of normal precipitation, and estimates could still change depending on remaining spring rainfall, officials said.
“Our forecasts assume close-to-normal conditions going forward. When it is this dry in the spring, the water supply will drop,” said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor.
Reservoir storage was at 102% of normal for early March, but it has since decreased to 98% of average for this time of year, officials said.
“We are grateful that, despite the dry conditions, the snow and the reservoir storage appear adequate to meet normal demand, but we must manage water carefully,” Garner said.