Irrigation water on hand until mid-October

There will be irrigation water until the middle of October, according to Chuck Klarich, secretary of the Yakima Basin Supply Alliance.

Klarich reported that through the month of August, the five Cascade Mountain reservoirs are at 46% of capacity, slightly below average for this time of year.

Klarich said salmon in the Yakima River are threatened this summer because of low water flow and high temperatures. When water temperatures exceed 70 degrees salmon survival is in jeopardy.

Construction continues on the project to allow juvenile fish to move from Lake Cle Elum over the dam to the Cle Elum River, Klarich said.

Unites States Forest Service (USFS) is moving the campgrounds around the shores of the lake to higher ground due to the increase in elevation of Lake Cle Elum.

The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and the Department of Ecology (DOE) are continuing to review the comments submitted on the Lake Kachess Drought Relief Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and are preparing the final EIS.

Pump urged members of the YBSA to consider reviving the Black Rock Creek Reservoir project turned down by the Bureau of Reclamation in 2008.

That plan would pump water from the Columbia River to a reservoir near the intersection of State Highways 24 and 241 north of Sunnyside for irrigating the Roza and Sunnyside Irrigation Districts.

“Using Columbia River water to irrigate would free up the stored water in the Yakima Basin Reservoirs for fish,” Klarich said.

Klarich noted a review of groundwater storage in the Yakima Basin is being done by a doctoral candidate at Oregon State University.

“The study to describe aquafer storage and shallow aquafer recharge looks at where we can store the water, how much we can store, and when we can store it,” Klarich said.


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