Kennewick Irrigation District Preparing for Possible Drought - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kennewick Irrigation District Preparing for Possible Drought

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KENNEWICK, WA -- The state of Washington is getting ready for a possible drought this summer. Workers with the Kennewick Irrigation District have been taking steps for years to prepare for a situation like this.

The Kennewick Irrigation District has laid seven and a half miles of plastic liner in a canal that stretches from Ely Street to Highway 397. And they have a lot more to do. 

All this is a part of plan set in motion 10 years ago in response to the 2005 drought. The Irrigation District has spent more than $10 million so far, lining 24 miles of canals to prevent any water leakage. They have 40 more miles that they still plan to cover. 

Today our reservoirs stand at above 90% capacity. But with an estimated 20% of normal snow pack, there could be problems for water next season.

"As next year happens, there won't be any carry over water in the reservoirs. And so next year may be a bigger challenge than this year if we don't get good snow pack next winter," said Chuck Freeman, Kennewick Irrigation Manager. 

Bureau of Reclamation told the Kennewick Irrigation District on Monday that it will receive 73% of it's total allotment of water for the 2015 irrigation season. They hope that with their years of preparation, that number won't make too much of an impact. They are asking people to start watering their lawns less and to water plants at the roots to conserve water. 

The Irrigation District hopes there is a wet spring in order to keep reservoirs full. Right now they have a $1 million drought relief fund in case of an emergency.