Drought in Washington 2019

Under our advisement, a drought emergency was declared by Gov. Jay Inslee in the Methow, Okanogan, and upper Yakima watersheds. The full announcement is available in our news room.

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April 4, 2019, areas in the state where drought was declared. Methow, Okanogan and Upper Yakima watersheds.

Projected water supply shortages

Data from state and national agencies forecasts summer water supplies for the Methow is projected at 72 percent of normal, while the Okanogan is expected to be 58 percent of normal and the Upper Yakima at 74 percent.

The areas declared in drought emergency are prime agricultural regions and stand to lose valuable crops if faced with water supply shortages this spring and summer.  Communities dependent on water sources that are susceptible to reduced water availability face less secure drinking water supplies.  In addition, fish and related instream resources can be hurt by low flows in rivers and streams, impacting migration and increasing water temperatures.

We’ve requested $2 million from the Legislature for drought response programs. This could fund projects like installing emergency water supply infrastructure; leasing water to create water availability for critical needs; and supporting operational changes to move water through tributaries and support salmon survival.

Seasonal Forecast

We look ahead to project water supplies by working with state and federal agencies to evaluate seasonal weather forecasts. The Office of the Washington State Climatologist and NOAA have forecast warmer and drier conditions in the areas declared in drought emergency. For a full report on climate forecasting visit our Statewide Conditions page.
Drought impact image for link to https://www.drought.gov/drought/states/washington

National Drought Information System - Report your drought impacts