Drought declaration cancelled for Eastern Washington
OLYMPIA - The Washington State Department of Ecology is canceling the drought declaration for Central and Eastern Washington after the cool and wet weather in May and June.
Water Resources Planner and Drought Coordinator Jeff Marti said the Colville River currently has the lowest stream-flow forecast in the state, but it's only down 14 percent from normal. State law only allows a drought declaration if the water supply is 25 percent below average.
"At that level you wouldn't expect to see any kind of noticeable impact at all really with respect to the water supplies for communities." Marti said, "It's well within the range of kind of your year-to-year variability."
Spring of last year was the second-driest on record, and was followed by an unprecedented heatwave in late June. That forced the Department of Ecology to issue a drought declaration in July of 2021 that covered 96% of the state.
By comparison, May through June of this year was the second wettest since 1895.
"It improved soil moisture immensely." Marti said, "It also caused the forecasted runoff to come up above our state statutory threshold for drought to a place where it was no longer appropriate to maintain the drought declaration."
Marti said he does NOT expect the state's water and agriculture to be stressed in any significant way for the remainder of the summer.
Farmers and ranchers who qualified for federal disaster relief because of recent drought are still eligible. For more information on federal disaster relief, contact your area Farm Service Agency Service Center.