Wednesday, February 2, 2011
According to Don Schramm, assistant manager of engineers at Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District, the 2011 irrigation water forecast indicates local farmers will be in good shape this year, but he would like to see some more snow in the mountains.
"The long-range forecast is calling for cool and wet weather, which will be good news for the snow pack," he told the Sunnyside Division Board of Control at a meeting held yesterday (Tuesday).
Schramm told the board that inflow into the Keechelus, Kachess, Cle Elum, Bumping and Rimrock reservoirs is at 103 percent and the release from the five reservoirs is at 208 percent. Recently, the river flow by Parker was well above flood stage but water levels have since dropped.
Unregulated flow for the Yakima River near the Parker dam is at 151 percent of normal. Regulated flow is 195 percent of average.
Total storage for the five reservoirs is at 157 percent. Three of the reservoirs (Keechelus, Kachess and Rimrock) are above 80 percent of capacity. Cle Elum Reservoir is at 71 percent and Bumping Reservoir is at 62 percent.
Schramm told the board that precipitation received at the five reservoirs in January was 49 1/2 inches, which is 122 percent above average. Precipitation at the reservoirs from Oct. 1 to Jan. 31 was 137 inches, or 99 percent of average.
That's all well and good but the reservoirs need to be filled during the summer when the rainfall is scarce. Currently, Schramm said the snowpack in the mountains is at 75 percent of normal. He came to this number by averaging the snowpack in the upper Yakima basin (63 percent) and the snowpack reported in the lower Yakima basin (87 percent).