Full Water Supply Expected in Yakima Basin This Coming Season - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Full Water Supply Expected in Yakima Basin This Coming Season

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YAKIMA, WA - The Bureau of Reclamation is forecasting a full water supply for both senior and junior water rights in the Yakima Basin this coming irrigation season.

The information was released Thursday in their March 2014 Water Supply Available forecast.

"We are currently expecting the water supply to be near normal," said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor. "February snowfall was incredible with a nearly continuous stream of storms hitting the Cascades throughout much of the month. In February, the snowpack went from 54 percent to 95 percent of average in the upper basin and from 63 percent to 97 percent of average in the lower basin. This points out that the remaining spring conditions can have a significant impact on the eventual water supply this season."

The Bureau will continue to issue water supply forecasts monthly through July. Specific water delivery levels won't be determined until later in the year after reservoir storage begins to decline.

The March TWSA forecast is based on flows, precipitation, snowpack, and reservoir storage as of March 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 are also critical in determining streamflows, prorationing, and the extent to which the reservoirs fill.

"The Yakima Basin weather outlook is favorable and the reservoir system storage on March 1 was a healthy 110 percent of average," Garner said. "We expect the reservoirs to fill and the runoff to provide for early season demands."

If spring precipitation and runoff happens to be unfavorable, the Bureau still expects an adequate supply. Since weather conditions can be unpredictable at times, Garner recommends water conservation to always be a consideration in the Yakima Basin.