Drought Forecasts Around the State

Drought Forecasts Around the State

Drought Forecasts Around the State

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

Normally hay growers in the Kittitas Valley can get two or three cuttings a season, but this year most of them will only get one due to the drought. Over near Spokane grower Chad Denny, who grows alfalfa to use for his own cattle feed, says that you can really see signs of the drought there.

DENNY: It's dry, we just didn't get the winter moisture to recharge that profile completely, and the moisture we did get came during a frost and so it just ran off and made a mess, and so we weren't able to utilize it as much as we normally can - it just didn't soak in. We had fall moisture and then we've had moisture this spring but any of that stuff from the winter just went down the creek.

Roughly 40% of Washington's watersheds are in a drought situation, with the low snowpack expected to create hardships for water users later this summer. The Kittitas Reclamation District, serving 60,000 acres, began water deliveries April 20 at 1.25 cubic feet per second per acre per 24 hours, instead of the normal 2.25 cubic feet per second. Spokane River and Coeur d'Alene River flows through September are forecast at less than half of normal.

On Monday the Bureau of Reclamation released its May 2015 Total Water Supply Available forecast for the Yakima Basin indicating a full water supply for senior water rights during the 2015 irrigation season, but an estimated 47 percent supply for junior water rights. Reclamation will issue water supply forecasts monthly, or as needed at least through July.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.

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