SUNNYSIDE The federal Bureau of Reclamation’s June water supply available forecast for the Yakima basin indicates there is adequate water to satisfy senior and junior water rights this irrigation season.
“The basin weather has oscillated from month to month; a very wet April was followed by a very warm and ‘dry’ May. The rapid and heavy snowmelt in May brought on very high flows and has exhausted much of the snowpack.” said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor.
“Never-the-less, with the reservoirs full, the Yakima Basin water supply for the 2018 season will be adequate to fully meet demands.”
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 begins to decline, he said.
This forecast is based on flows, precipitation, snowpack, and reservoir storage as of June 1, along with estimates of future precipitation and river flows.
Future weather conditions that determine the timing of the runoff, and the demand for water also are critical in determining stream flows, prorations, and the extent to which the reservoirs fill.
If spring precipitation and runoff are unfavorable, Reclamation still expects an adequate supply.
Because longer term weather conditions can be unpredictable, Garner recommends conservation by users in the Yakima basin.