Via the Washington State Department of Ecology: Washington Drought 2015 | Washington State Department of Ecology, drought declaration, snow pack, drought forecast. Excerpt:
Gov Jay Inslee on May 15, 2015, declared a statewide drought emergency.
The declaration comes after the governor’s Emergency Water Executive Committee determined that 48 of 62 watersheds in Washington have water supplies of 75 percent of normal or below and water users are experiencing hardships from water shortages or are expected to experience hardships.
Washington has been in a snowpack drought since the governor’s first drought declaration on March 13 for the Yakima and Walla Walla basins and the Dungeness basin on the Olympic Peninsula.
Snowpack statewide is currently at 16 percent of normal, ten percent lower than when the last statewide drought was declared in Washington in 2005.
Snowpack is like a frozen reservoir for river basins, in a typical year accumulating over the winter and slowly melting through the spring and summer providing a water supply for rivers and streams. This year run-off from snowmelt for the period April through September is projected to be the lowest on record in the past 64 years.
Ecology working to provide drought relief where needed
Ecology has requested just more than $9.5 million from the Legislature for drought relief but began its drought relief work with existing funds immediately after Gov Inslee’s first drought declaration on March 13, 2015.
Ecology has proposed using the drought relief money in the following ways:
• $3.896 million for public agricultural irrigation projects water leasing and/ or acquisition
• $2 million to municipal water utilities for emergency drought funding.
• $1.187 million to WDFW for salmon and trout protection.
• $2.2 million for Yakima emergency well pumping mitigation.
• $187,000 to hire temporary state staff to respond to the drought emergency.
• $100,000 Stream Flow Monitoring
• $25,000 Conservation Education