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Drought worries have dried up

The much needed snow melt and run-off of this past May will seemingly put worries to rest about another drought season.

A full water supply is predicted for the Yakima Basin, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

"We are expecting a near normal water supply at this time," said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project river operations supervisor. "The June 2006 forecast indicates a full water supply for all water users."

The bureau has just released the June 2006 forecast for irrigation water supply in the Yakima Basin. The forecast is based on reservoir storage, flow data and this year's snow pack and precipitation data.

As of June 1, system storage was 82 percent full and about 93 percent of average.

"The outlook continues to be favorable. We saw a lot of snow melt run-off in the second half of May, which benefited the reservoir storage, but also used up some of the unregulated water supply a little early. Of course, we must, as always, manage the water supply carefully," Garner said.

At this time both junior and senior water rights holders are expected to receive a full water supply. Specific water delivery levels will not be determined until later in the year.

The weather conditions that determine precipitation, the run-off timing and demand for water are critical in determining whether the reservoirs fill, the amount of water available for irrigation and possible rationing levels. If warm, dry weather increases the uncontrolled run-off in June and leads to heavy demand, the situation could change. Water demands requiring storage releases, even prior to control, may be charged to the users' total entitlement.

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