Washington State Department of Ecology - August 28, 2013

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Low flows in Wenatchee River may mean irrigation cut short for some

YAKIMA– Flows along the Wenatchee River have dropped below minimum flows required by state law, prompting the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) to notify some junior surface and groundwater users that their water use may be curtailed.

Letters have been sent warning some 35 irrigators whose permitted and certificated rights can be interrupted when streamflows fall below mandated minimums for late August, September and October. Users will receive orders informing them to call a toll-free number to determine whether they can water on a given day.

The hotline will be updated on a regular basis throughout the irrigation season.The recorded message will state whether the river is above or below the minimum flows and whether water users may withdraw or divert water under their water rights. Water supply conditions have worsened, despite a forecast for a 100 percent water supply this year. Warmer weather and rapid snowmelt may account for the decline in water supplies.

Wenatchee River flows at the Peshastin gauging station are currently below the adopted minimum flows for late August and September. As of Aug. 26, the flow at the Peshastin was 761 cubic feet per second (cfs); the minimum flow for this date is 827 cfs.

River flows at the Monitor gauging station are 711 cfs, which is very close to the 700 cfs minimum flows required for this time of year.

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Media Contact:

Joye Redfield-Wilder, 509-575-2610; 509-961-6277; jred461@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

Wenatchee rule (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/instream-flows/wenatchee.html)

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)