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Bob Larson Water Supply Yakima Basin Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: June 28, 2018

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I’m Bob Larson. The water supply in Washington state has changed a lot in the past couple of months. In April, state water managers told Yakima Valley irrigators they were 100 percent for this season, but that changed this month when the state began to rely on water stored in Cascade reservoirs.

The Department of Ecology’s Joye Redfield-Wilder says it happened fast …

JOYE … “We do have responses in place. We’re looking at the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan that’s looking at water for all of our needs. You know, we need to support water for the irrigators and for the fish and this is just another indication that things can look really good, but they can change quickly.”

Redfield-Wilder says the change means some decisions will need to be made …

JOYE … “It may mean that for some irrigators that they will choose not to farm. Those, we have some 300 junior water right holders that are not allowed to use water this year unless they actually make arrangements with their neighbors or lease some water. They may choose to fallow their fields if they have an annual crop. So, it does affect the valley and it just still a good water supply, but it just shows that things can quickly change.”

She says snow pack in the mountains can only be relied on so far and that Spring rains are necessary to supplement those stored supplies.

The Yakima Valley has only seen moderate precipitation since February.

Water users with questions can call customer service at the DOE’s Central Regional office … at (509) 575-2597

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