Do We Have A Drought

Do We Have A Drought

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Does Washington state really have such a water shortage that we should call it a “Drought Emergency?”


Governor Inlsee recently expanded the state's drought emergency declaration that now covers nearly half the state, and the media just ran with the news, no questions asked.

But for me, even though we’ve had a couple of nice, warm stretches over the past few months, it just didn’t seem like it’s been all that dry.


So, rather than being labeled a ‘Science Denier’ I decided to call an expert … University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences professor Cliff Mass …


MASS … “You know, I would not characterize the current situation as an emergency in any way. If you look at the water supplies of the major cities, they all look really good. I mean, the reservoir levels are quite high. And even some of the ag reservoirs like the Yakima system that’s just below normal. So, they have like 90-95% of normal in the reservoirs that feed the Yakima system.”


Mass says all you really have to do is look at the numbers …


MASS … “If you look at the percentage of normal precipitation over this winter, Eastern Washington is 100% or, some places, above 100%, but for most of it, the Columbia Basin all the way down to Walla Walla. The driest area has been in Western Washington, but there’s really nothing serious going on. So, you look at almost any objective measure, there really is no emergency in terms of water for Washington state.”


Mass says we’re in relatively good shape water-wise and that there’s really no reason to expect drier than normal conditions or excessive wildfires. He says if one cries wolf too many times, one day folks won’t listen.


Tune in tomorrow for more.

BL:  Welcome back to another “Fruit Bites” brought to you by Valent U.S.A. With us as always is Valent’s Allison Walston. And this week Allison, tell me what kinds of fruit will be in-season this month?


AW: The month of June brings us strawberries, like really good strawberries that are perfect for making jams and pies.  I hope you saved some rhubarb.


BL: And, we also might begin to see early varieties of cherries in a week or two ...   


AW: A mid-June start to blueberries from the PNW.  Our blueberries will compete with rain-delayed CA blueberries hitting the market around the same time.


BL:    Will we have any delays here in the PNW?


AW: Yes, and we already are seeing delays in boysenberries and raspberries which are typically harvested in June.


BL:    What happened up here?


AW: Cold temperatures in February damaged a lot of the caneberries.  This winter injury can take out a lot of fruiting wood and produce less fruit.  So please, go out and support your local berry farmers this season as they are having a tough time this year.


BL: Besides, they’re tasty! Thanks Allison. Join us again next time for Fruit Bites, brought to you by Valent. Until then, I’m Bob Larson.


Previous ReportDo We Have A Drought "Emergency"? Pt 1
Next ReportConsumers Today Pt 1