YAKIMA, Wash. — Officials Wednesday forecast a good water year for farmers in the Yakima Basin.
"It looks like we should have an adequate supply of water for everybody this whole season, spring and summer," Chris Lynch, hydrologist for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Yakima, told the Capital Press.
At a water supply meeting Wednesday following Lynch's conversation with the Capital Press, Lynch said the water supply for irrigation purposes "looks relatively good this year."
The total water supply available for irrigation April 1 through Sept. 30 will range from 2.26 million acre-feet to 2.3 million acre-feet.
The bureau controls five Cascade Mountain reservoirs in the Yakima River system, serving about 464,000 acres of farmland.
Together, these reservoirs — Keechelus, Kachess, Cle Elum, Bumping and Rimrock — can hold a total of 1,065,670 acre-feet when full.
On April 7, they reached 672,113 acre-feet, or 63% of the total storage capacity, which is about 99% of average for this time of year.
Douglas Call, a spokesman for the bureau, said that although March was relatively dry, precipitation for the overall water year to date was nearly 195 inches, or 105% of average. The water year began in October.
The snow-water equivalent, Call said, is also better than average.
Mikolai Lewicki, another bureau hydrologist, agreed that water supplies are at a "healthy level" this year and said there is "lots of snow in the mountains."
The bureau will soon release more snowpack data.
According to Snow Telemetry data released April 7 via a SNOTEL report from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the current snow-water equivalent in the Yakima Basin is about 120% of average.