SUNNYSIDE Recent warm weather raised the water level in local rivers, but the irrigation outlook is still good.
Chris Lynch of the federal Bureau of Reclamation said the past week has seen quite a bit of snow melt, but water supplies are still in good shape.
“Depending on the sites, the level went down about 10 percent,” he said.
However, run-off is not unusual this time of year.
“It’s a little earlier than an average year, but it’s not abnormal to have warm events,” he said. “Now, we’re seeing it cool off and tighten up. The flows in the tributaries are all dropping.”
He said the peak flow caused by snow melt has dropped by 20 percent since Monday. However, reservoirs all have healthy levels, with some near capacity, Lynch said.
There has been a slight uptick in water demand, Roza Irrigation District Manager Scott Revell said.
He added that it’s early enough in the season that a minimal amount of irrigation is occurring.
“As the weather warms up, people will be ordering more water,” he said. “But there’s plenty in the system. We’re feeling better than we did six weeks ago.”
Lynch said this year’s snowpack is much better than last year.
“We actually have a snowpack this year,” he said. “Last year there wasn’t much up there to melt off.”
He said all irrigation districts should have an adequate supply this year.
“We did our last forecast on (April 7) and it looks good,” he said. “We’re near the normal range in the snowpack, 90 to 100 percent depending where you look.”