Conservation and drought – two words you don’t to hear when forecasting the state water supply through September.
Marcus Bellissimo reports this week’s rain meant good things for some areas of Central Washington at risk of drought this year. The lowland precipitation will help with soil moisture, but it won’t make up for the shortage of snowpack that feeds the Methow, Twisp, Okanogan and Similkameen rivers in Okanogan County.
Runoff is looking pretty dismal from the British Columbia mountains that are a source for these streams, said Jeff Marti, drought coordinator for State Ecology Department. He said they’re still watching the Upper Yakima Basin, which provides irrigation water for farmers downstream and supports important tributaries crucial to salmon and bull trout survival.
Gov. Jay Inslee declared a drought emergency for the Methow, Okanogan, and Upper Yakima basins.
North Central Washington hasn’t received as much as the lowlands and is projected to have 65 percent of normal water supplies through the summer. Overall, Washington experienced less than 20 percent of normal precipitation in March. That’s the fourth driest March since 1895.