Area Irrigation Rationing Bumped Up to 86 Percent


August 6, 2004

Yakima, WA - The dwindling 2004 irrigation season has seen yet another bump in water supply.

The Bureau of Reclamation said Thursday the level of water rationing in the Yakima Irrigation Project improved to 86 percent of a full supply as of Aug. 1.

It marks the third boost since May 1 in the amount that holders of junior water rights are to receive. The rationing level applies to an irrigation district's total supply of water from mid-June to the end of September.

Junior rights are subject to being cut when there is a shortage. Older, senior rights receive a full supply.

The rationing level increased from 84 percent on July 15 despite another dry month. Precipitation during July was just 48 percent of normal.

But Chris Lynch, water engineer for the federal agency, said several factors combined to improve the outlook. Among them are conservation and an orderly runoff of the remaining snowpack earlier this summer.

Jack Carpenter, manager of the Kittitas Reclamation District, said the improvement means his water users will receive water through the end of September. The 59,000-acre district relies entirely on junior water rights.

The district had been facing running out of water by early September.


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