Irrigation water should not be an issue in the Yakima Basin, at least according to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Reclamation. The Bureau’s June 2022 total water supply available forecast indicates the water supply will fully satisfy all senior and junior users this irrigation season. Reclamation said precipitation totals for April and May were the 2nd wettest on record and contributed to the Yakima basin’s good water supply outlook in June 2022. Precipitation in May was 193% of average, fourth wettest on record. Precipitation for the water year so far, October through May, was 116% of average. On June 1, the amount of water in the snowpack, known as snow water equivalent, was 241% of average in the upper Yakima and 167% in the Naches subbasins.

Total Yakima Project reservoir storage on May 1 was 1,021,534 acre feet, 108% of average and 96% full.

Reclamation manages the water in the five Yakima Project storage reservoirs, along with the basin’s unregulated inflows to fulfill water rights, water contracts and instream flow obligations. Water shortages in the basin are shared equally by the junior water rights holders, which represent over half of the water rights in the basin.

Reclamation says the June forecast is based on flows, precipitation, snowpack, and reservoir storage as of June 1, along with estimates of future precipitation and river flows. Other future weather conditions that determine the timing of the runoff and the demand for water also are critical in determining stream flows, the extent to which the reservoirs fill, and the water supply for irrigation.

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