Near normal season predicted for irrigators

The Bureau of Reclamation's April 2013 Total Water Supply Available (TWSA) forecast for the Yakima Basin indicates a full water supply for both senior and junior water rights.

"The Yakima Basin should have a nearly normal water supply this irrigation season," said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor.

He said, "We've received below average precipitation so far this season, but the current snowpack is holding up and the reservoir storage is above average."

The Bureau of Reclamation will present water supply forecasts monthly through the month of July.

Specific water delivery levels will not be determined until later in the year when the reservoir system's storage begins to decline.

The April TWSA forecast is based on flows, precipitation, snowpack and reservoir storage as of April 1, along with estimates of future precipitation and river flows. Other future weather conditions that determine the timing of the run-off and the demand for water also influence stream flows, pro-rationing and the extent to which the reservoirs fill.

"We expect the spring and summer runoff to fill the reservoirs and provide for most of the spring and early summer demands." said Garner.

"The snow melt timing, the summer weather and the irrigation demands are still important unknown factors that can influence stream flow levels and the carry-over storage at the end of the season," he said.

Garner recommends that irrigators always consider practices that conserve water.

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