Getting Water to Farmers in the Yakima Basin
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
In Governor Inslee’s recent drought emergency announcement for the entire state he spoke of record low snowpack levels, irrigation district water cutoffs, and Department of Agriculture projections for $1.2 billion in crop losses associated with the drought. Maia Bellon, state Department of Ecology Director, also spoke of drought emergency relief for the state’s hardest hit areas.
BELLON: Our focus in this snowpack drought is on farms, fish and smaller community water systems. One of our highest priorities has been finding ways to get water to farmers in the Yakima Basin. It’s our richest agricultural region in the state, and our highest at risk area for this drought. We’re coordinating closely with the Yakima Nation and the United States Bureau of Reclamation to ensure our drought response lessens the pain on farmers, while preserving fisheries.
Bellon said that they will be partnering with irrigators across the state to help where they can.
BELLON: For example in the Dungeness Basin we’ve had many senior water right holders or farms forego a portion of their water right in order for that water to be mitigation water to go back into streams and rivers, and the same is occurring in the Yakima Basin.
DOE has requested $9.5 million from the Washington state legislature to assist in setting up cost share and grant programs in order to mitigate for water uses throughout the growing season.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.