The water outlook is good, so far, for the Yakima Basin this summer, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
An abundance of winter weather across the Pacific Northwest last month helped, but still didn't make up for the below average precipitation in January and February, said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor for the bureau in Yakima.
But the big picture shows the reservoir system is about 150 percent of average, which is enough to expect a full water supply for senior and junior water rights, Garner said.
"We are expecting a near-normal water supply at this time," Garner said in a statement issued Monday.
Scott Revell, planning manager forthe Kennewick Irrigation District, said the water supply forecast is good, and that having cooler and wetter weeks ahead will add to that.
"What I'd take away from the bureau's report is there is no bad news yet," Revell said.
The thumbs-up forecast comes just as irrigation districts across the Mid-Columbia gear up for receiving bureau water in their canals in coming weeks.
"We expect the snowmelt runoff to be sufficient to fill the reservoirs and help provide for early season demands. If spring precipitation and runoff are unfavorable, we might have a below average, but adequate, supply," Garner said.
The Columbia Irrigation District will see water entering its canals March 21, while the Kennewick Irrigation District expects water to arrive April 1.
KID's canal lining project on the Badger East Canal is completed for the season, and work is progressing on the lining of the main canal.
Other districts' water turn-on dates are:
-- South Columbia Basin Irrigation District, between March 10-17.
-- Quincy Irrigation District, March 16.
-- Roza Irrigation District, March 17.
-- Franklin Irrigation District, March 21.
-- East Columbia Basin Irrigation District, March 22 for the Potlatch canal and March 30 for the East Low canal.
-- Badger Mountain Irrigation District, March 31.
-- Benton Irrigation District, April 1.
-- Kiona Irrigation District, April 15.
-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org