News + Updates

WA Drought 2016 Outlook

Washington’s statewide drought declaration expired on December 31st, 2015.  Water supplies must be below 75 percent of normal for the consideration of a drought emergency. Currently, snowpack accumulations statewide are at higher levels than 2015. Another declaration will be considered later in 2016 if water supply conditions change.


2016 Irrigation + Snowpack News


October 3, 2016 Pacific Northwest DEWS October Drought & Climate Outlook Thu, Oct 6, 2016 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PDT

Please join NIDIS and its partners the Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) a NOAA RISA team, the USDA Northwest Climate Hub and the National Weather Service on Thursday October 6 at 11:00am PDT for the Pacific Northwest Drought Early Warning System (PNW DEWS) October Drought and Climate Outlook Webinar. The PNW DEWS Drought & Climate outlook webinar series is designed to provide stakeholders and other interested parties in the Pacific Northwest timely drought and climate information.

September 6, 2016 Dept. of Ecology Blog Watching the water supply September update

September 6, 2016 Seattle Times From mountain forests to city parks, trees are stressed and dying

The killing effects of the long, hot drought of 2015 are showing up in dying tree tops, thinning needles, burgeoning beetles and an unprecedented number of dead trees in city parks.

July 5, 2016 Dept. of Ecology Blog Watching the water supply

June 15, 2016 Washington Ag Network Washington Very Dry After Promising Snowpack

May 17, 2016 Washington Ag Network Snowpack Rapidly Melting, Raising Some Concerns

April 18, 2016 Capital Press Drought officially vanishes from Washington landscape

Washington is drought-free for the first time since 2013. It’s the only Western state without a hint of drought.

March 14, 2016 Capital Press Storm boosts snowpack, but won’t forestall melt

A late winter storm boosts Washington’s statewide snowpack but not enough to allay concerns that the snowpack will melt sooner than desired.

March 14, 2016 Capital Press Newhouse, Reichert introduce Yakima Basin bill

Plans to improve the water supply in Washington’s Yakima River Basin are moving forward with the introduction of authorizing legislation in the U.S. House.

March 14, 2016 Capital Press Section of Roza irrigation canal gets facelift

Roza Irrigation District in Washington’s Yakima Valley is finishing winter canal maintenance and is nervous about having sufficient water in the upcoming season.

February 29. 2016 Daily Record News Water outlook still good, supply now at 130 percent of average

February 22. 2016 Capital Press Comment sought on Icicle water plans 

A group is proposing projects to enhance water supply from Icicle Creek, near Leavenworth, Wash., to benefit fish, agriculture and residents.

February 15, 2016 Capital Press Washington drains water funding, replenishment uncertain

Washington has nearly drained the $200 million it set aside a decade ago to find water for Eastern Washington. State officials see the need for millions, if not billions more

January 20, 2016 Washington State Dept. of Agriculture Interim Report: 2015 Drought and Agriculture

A Study by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

January 11, 2016 Capital Press Washington snowpack looks good

For now, mountain snowpack in Washington and Yakima Basin reservoir storage look good, but more snow is needed.

January 11, 2016 Capital Press Washington drought losses estimated at $336 million — and counting


 2015 News on Agriculture, Irrigation, Water Restrictions and Events
December 22. GoSkagit State drought declaration won’t be extended into next year
December 16. Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Effects of 2015 Drought Conditions Survey 
December 16. Yakima Herald Split over cost, Roza irrigators scraps plans for Kachess pump system
December 14. Capital Press Storms loosen drought’s grip on Washington
December 8. Capital Press Yakima water reservoirs catching up
Rain and snow have replenished Yakima Basin reservoirs to where they should be for right now, but the next several months will be critical to whether irrigators have enough water in 2016.
December 8. Capital Press Washington to appraise drought damage
The Washington State Department of Agriculture will assess 2015 drought losses, an unprecedented attempt to pinpoint which regions and crops are most vulnerable in water-short years.
December 8. Capital Press Yakima irrigators want more lake water 
Not everyone is onboard, but a Yakima Valley irrigation district is pursuing a plan to get more water out of a Cascade Mountain reservoir next summer if the valley’s drought continues.
December 8. GoSkagit Drought conditions wane, but repeat still possible
December 8. WA State Dept. of Ecology Columbia County orchardist fined for illegal irrigation during drought
December 8. WA State Dept. of Ecology Blog State debates extending drought declaration
November 30. Yakima Herald $58 million price has farmers divided about emergency water plan
Tight schedule and environmental issues also threaten pumping plan
November 30. Capital Press Rain ends drought in Western Washington, federal monitors say
November 30. Tri-City Herald  Roza district farmers seek security, affordability with emergency water system plan
Pump would draw extra water from Kachess Reservoir;Ambitious proposal would cost $58 million, or $85/acre for 10 years; Row crop, dairy farmers don’t want to pay that; orchardists do 
November 25. The News Tribune Water restrictions over in Puget Sound as drought lingers
November 23. Seattle Public Utilities Regional water supply conditions back to normal
November 20. Cantwell Secures Votes to Advance the Yakima Bill through Committee 
Legislation Will Bring Drought Relief to Washington Farmers, Families and Fish––Restoring Fish Runs Blocked for More Than a Century
November 16. Tri-City Herald Scientists tracking rain, snow in soggy Washington state
November 12. Office of the Washington State Climatologist Nov. 10 2015 Newsletter 
November 9. Daily Record Kachess pump moving forward 
November 9. Daily Record KRD ends tributary supplementation program for the year
November 9. Dept. of Ecology Blog Extreme drought now in less than half of state
November 1. Capital Press Yakima reservoirs lowest in years
October 27. Capital Press FEMA denies funds for private wildfire losses in Washington
October 27. Dept. of Ecology Blog A new look for our yards: the Eco-lawn
October 23. Seattle Weekly Will the Snowpack Be Back?
October 23. Yakima Herald Roza Irrigation District to pursue $60M pump system
“To access additional water supplies next summer in case the drought continues.”
October 17. Capital Press Forecast confirms warm winter awaits Washington
“Washington has a strong chance of having another warm winter, according to federal forecasters.”
October 15. Dept. of Ecology Blog End of the Drought? I think Not!
“Tips to help conserve water in your landscape this fall and winter.”
October 15. The Spokesman-Review Drought is conspicuous for those outside the aquifer
October 11. Tri-City Herald Revised KID (Kennewick Irrigation District) drought plan makes trees, gardens a priority
October 11. Capital Press Wanted in Washington: Billions for irrigation, other water projects
October 11. Seattle Public Utilities Region continues to meet 10 percent water reduction goal
October 7. Dept. of Ecology Blog From city lots to irrigated crops—working with your conservation district to find the right water conservation solution for you
October 5. Capital Press Dry weather leads to higher protein levels in some wheat
October 5. Tri-City Herald Drought destroys Washington farmer’s pumpkin patch
October 5. Remember Washington’s Bad Drought? It’s Still Out There
October 1. Dept of Ecology Blog Colleges help lead the way in water conservation
September 29. Dept. of Ecology Blog The KID knows how to conserve water!
September 28. Daily Record Ag producers don’t want it, don’t want to think about drought
September 28. Union-Bulletin State predicts another dry winter
September 26. Capital Press Early cranberry harvest shapes up as dry run
September 26. Department of Ecology Washington’s historic drought not over yet; Drought predicted to extend into second year
September 26. Office of Washington State Climatologist Sept. 24 Weekly Drought Monitoring Report
September 25. Cliff Mass Weather Blog Drought in 2016 for Washington State?
September 25. Tri-City Herald Experts: Another ‘toasty’ winter, another drought next year
September 25. Yakima Herald Officials say drought conditions likely to continue into 2016
September 24. 5280 The Denver Magazine Will the Pacific Northwest Drought Impact Our Beer?
September 21. Capital Press Washington irrigation districts get drought-relief grants
September 21. Tri-City Herald Dates set for Mid-Columbia irrigation districts to end service
September 21. Tri-City Herald KID lifts watering restrictions
September 20. Spokane Public Radio SPR Talks Event: Our Water, Our Future 
Thursday, September 24 in the Spokane City Hall Council Chambers from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
September 18. Dept. of Ecology Blog Drought impacts: Yakima Valley farmers struggle now, wonder about next year
September 18.  Office of Washington State Climatologist Washington State Weekly Drought Monitoring Report
September 15. Capital Press Roza district growers get water a little longer
September 15. Tri-City Herald Scientists conduct drought study in 6 western states
September 15. Peninsula Daily News Forks implements emergency water restrictions due to well levels  
September 13. Yakima Herald Yakima water officials: Prepare now for next summer’s drought
September 10. Office of Washington State Climatologist Washington State Weekly Drought Monitoring Report
September 10. Tri-City Herald Mid-Columbia agencies asked to push water conservation
September 8. U.S. Geological Survey Low 2015 Snowpack and River Flows Studied to Provide Insight Into Future Droughts
September 4. USDA Secretarial Disaster Designations updated 09.02.15
As of September 2, 2015 All 39 counties in Washington State are designated primary disaster areas and qualify for aid. 
September 3. Dept. of Ecology Blog What did the rains do for the drought? Not much!
September 3.  Office of Washington State Climatologist Washington State Weekly Drought Monitoring Report
September 3. AgWeatherNet Prosser’s 2015 Summer Crushes Previous Heat Record Set Just Last Year
September 1. NWPR Parched Olympic Peninsula Community Eyes New Reservoir
August 28. Office of Washington State Climatologist  Weekly Drought Monitoring Report Thursday, August 27, 2015  
August 26. Dept. of Ecology Blog Lawn care in a drought: brown is the new green
August 23. Dept. of Ecology Grants help upgrade water wells, boost irrigation water for crops
August 23. Dept. of Ecology Blog Help us tell the story: Half of state in “extreme drought”
August 19. USDA Farm Service Agency USDA Offers Assistance to Farmers and Ranchers Affected by Fires
August 17. WSU Extension, Charles A. Brun Drought Tolerant Landscaping for Washington State
August 17. USDA Farm Service Agency Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)
August 14. Tri-City Herald Kennewick Irrigation District water users call for Columbia River water rights
August 13. United States Drought Monitor 42.51% of Washington in Extreme Drought 
August 13. Capital Press Unusual drought impacts all of Washington’s farmers
August 12. Ecology WA Drought relief Application Status (As of 08.07.15)
August 12. Dept. of Ecology Blog Water conservation blog series will help you save water
August 11. The Saving Water Partnership  Seattle, Everett and Tacoma are asking customers to voluntarily reduce water use by 10 percent
August. 11 Tri-City Herald KID customers again allowed to spot water lawns
August 11. Dept. of Ecology Blog Drought update: Save Ten
August 10. Cliff Mass Weather Blog How to Reduce Water Waste from Sprinklers: The Science of Spray
August 10. Tri-City Herald Apple growers expect third-largest harvest, despite drought
August 6. Clallam PUD Stage 3 Water Alert for Additional PUD Systems – Follows City of PA’s Declaration
August 6.  Washington State Climatologist Weekly Drought Monitoring Report August 6, 2015
August 6. Capital Press Earlier drought planning needed, ag director says
August 5. USDA 2015 Secretarial Drought Designations – All Drought Updated 08/05/15
August 5. TDN Irrigation system in Kittitas County set for early closure
August 4. Clallam County PUD Water Relief For Upper Fairview – Restrictions Reduced to Stage 3
August 3. Bureau of Reclamation Yakima Basin Water Supply – August Forecast
August 3. Tri-City Herald How to help your lawn beat the summer heat – Irrigation Specialist, Troy Peters of WSU Extension Explains

August 3. Tri-City Herald Bigger hop harvest expected despite drought
August 1. Dept. of Ecology Blog 2015 is shaping up to be the worst of Washington’s statewide droughts
July 31. Capital Press ‘Extreme drought’ hits Washington for first time in a decade
July 30. Dept. of Ecology Drought restricts water usage in Chehalis basin – Low river flows stop water withdrawal from Chehalis River
July 30. Office of Washington State Climatologist Washington State Weekly Drought Monitoring Report – July 30, 2015
July 29. Dept. of Ecology Video 2015 Drought Funding Assistance in Washington State   
July 29. Dept. of Ecology Blog Washington’s future is parched
July 28.  CrossCut  Snoqualmie Valley farmers fight drought with innovation
July 27. Kiro TV Seattle, Everett, Tacoma activate water shortage response plans
July 27. Office of the Washington State Climatologist Washington State Weekly Drought Monitoring Report July 23, 2015
July 27. Dept. of Ecology Curtailing irrigation water during a drought
July 27. Inland Northwest Permaculture 5th Annual Inland Northwest Permaculture Convergence: Permaculture in Drought
July 26.  Dept. of Ecology Blog Pre-statehood water rights curtailed in the Yakima Basin
July 21. Peninsula Daily News Report: Almost 99 percent of state now in ‘severe’ drought
July 21. Tri-City Herald  Drought dings quality of winter wheat in Northwest
July 20. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) Yakima Basin Water Supply – mid-July Forecast
July 19. GoSkagit State says drought is so bad every county will qualify for relief funds
July 18. Yakima Herald Officials say drought conditions worst in Washington recorded history
July 18. Capital Press Severe drought nearly blankets Washington
July 18. USDA Secretarial Disaster Designations 2015 Crop Year All Drought -26 Total Counties in Washington as of 7/15/2015
July 18. Capital Press NE Washington declared federal drought disaster area
July 17. Capital Press Wenatchee Valley irrigation district reduces water
July 14. Tri-City Herald KID eases watering restrictions; CID innovation boosts its water
July 13. Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets Tumblr Farmers reactions to Washington state’s 2015 drought
July 13. GoSkagit Skagit County to be spared serious water woes, but for how long?
July 13 Dept. of Ecology
*$16 million to help relieve drought hardships statewide
*2015 Drought Emergency Grant Program Overview
*Frequently Asked Questions Revised July 2015
*Drought Relief Grant Application 2015 
*Ecology taking applications for drought relief projects 

 2015 News on Wildfires, Rivers, Weather, and Other Drought-related Topics
November 9. The Spokesman-Review Weathercatch: Warmer, drier weather likely to stick around for a while
November 9. Dept. of Ecology Blog Air Time: A summer of unhealthy smoke
October 23. Capital Press FEMA to help some wildfire-ravaged counties in Washington
October 15. Tri-City Herald Officials discuss ways to reduce size of wildfires
October 5. Tri-City Herald Drought was rough on sockeye, future could be an upstream battle
September 29. The Olympian Dramatic climate shifts require attention to forests, water
September 28. NPR Fall Brings No Relief To The West As Wildfires Worsen
September 24. Seattle Times Columbia River water levels hit 6-year low
September 15. Northwest Treaty Tribes How Treaty Tribes Are Responding to the Drought
September 14. Central Washington Fire Recovery Floodwatch Preparation
September 8. WSU New Wildfire Recovery Website
September 3. GoSkagit State lifts some drought-related fishing restrictions
August 31. US Army Corps of Engineers Lakes Washington, Union lowest in 28 years
August 29. Dept. of Ecology Blog WCC Fish Response: Crews help fish battle the drought
August 28. Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife 
Snoqualmie River fishing hours restricted
Areas of Sauk River closed to fishing in response to drought conditions
August 26. NorthWest Treaty Tribes How Real-Time Data Helps The Nisqually Tribe Protect Salmon
August 25. GoSkagit Marblemount hatchery doing better than most
August 25. Cliff Mass Weather Blog A Great Source for Northwest Smoke Forecasts 
August 23. The Columbian Water temperatures ease, but drought persists
August 19. GoSkagit Drought prompts more rule changes for region’s rivers
August 17.  GoSkagit Drinking water levels may be dropping sight unseen during drought
August 17. Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Drought conditions prompt WDFW to limit suction dredging, other activities in rivers
August 10. Tri-City Herald Heat causes fish to die at Whatcom Falls hatchery
August 8. Komo News How dry is it? Sprinkler system set up in Olympic rain forest
August 3. Dept. of Ecology Drought conditions prompt changes in Lake Osoyoos levels; More water will be stored now to support Okanogan River flows in the fall
August 3. Dept. of Ecology Air Quality Monitoring Network
Washington Air Monitoring
View Air Quality Information by Location
July 30. Dept of Ecology Blog Puget Sound waters left sweltering after double punch from the drought and the Blob
July 30. GoSkagit So far so good for state fish hatcheries in Skagit County – Heat, disease kills 1.5M fish around state
July 29. King5 State diverts river to help salmon
July 29. GoSkagit Puget Sound waters reach record warm temperatures  
July 28. Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife WDFW takes steps to reduce effects of drought at fish hatcheries
July 27. Seattle Times Snowpack drought has salmon dying in overheated rivers
July 23. NWPR NW Fish Survival Tested By Warm Waters And Low Stream Flows
July 19.  USGS Map of Monthly Streamflow Compared to Historical Streamflow for the Month of the Year|m__mv01d_nwc&r=wa
Map of Monthly Streamflow Compared to Historical Streamflow for the Month of the Year. Courtesy United States Geological Survey (USGS)
July 18. Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Drought prompts fishing moratorium for sturgeon on Columbia, Snake rivers
July 17. Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Drought conditions prompt fishing closures, restrictions on numerous rivers  (To take effect Saturday (July 18) at 12:01 a.m)
July 14. Yakima Herald State could close some rivers to fishing due to drought
July 12. GoSkagit  Burn bans expand across Western Washington
July 6. Tri-City Herald Yakima River fish fighting for survival with drought
July 6.  NWPR Driest June On Record For Wettest Part Of Washington
June 29. FIRE PROTECTION BUREAU  Fireworks Ban or Restricted Sales/Use by County and City (BANNED in many Cities Across Washington)
June 26. Governor Jay Inslee Governor Inslee and Commissioner of Public Lands Goldmark take steps to reduce wildfire risk
June 26. WA State Dept. of Natural Resources DNR EXPANDS BURN BAN TO INCLUDE WESTERN WASHINGTON  (Hot And Dry Conditions Increasing Fire Danger Statewide)
June 26. King 5 News  Fish stranded in Puyallup River due to low water levels
June 20. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Drought affecting how Corps officials manage Chittenden Locks
June 17. Washington Trails Association Wildfire Season Arrives: Thunder Creek Closures, Fire Safety Tips
June 11. Spokesman-Review B.C. reservoirs will help aid Northwest during drought
June 9. Skagit Valley Herald  Drought brings low flows early to Spokane River
June 9.  United States Environmental Protection Agency Conserving Water
June 5. WA Dept. of Ecology Blog Rapidly declining stream and river flows are telling the story of our drought
June 1.  King 5 News Whitewater rafting businesses adapt to slow rivers
May 29.  Cliff Mass Weather Blog Drought Misinformation
May 19. Earth Observatory NASA Diminished Snow Pack in the Pacific Northwest (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Images)
May 19.  The Utilities and Transportation Commission Effective Water Conservation 
May 18. Tri-City Herald Expect dry fountains, brown lawns on Capitol Campus this summer
May 15.  Western Governors’  Association Drought Update: California desalination rules, Washington fishery concerns
May 12. Washington’s ‘snow drought’ puts fisheries at risk
May 11. Disaster Safety.Org Protect Your Property from Wildfire
May 4. Dept. of Ecology La conservación del agua: Comienza contigo
 April 22. Washington Energy Services 10 Easy Steps You Can Take Towards Water Conservation 
April 22. Tri -City Herald Yakima Basin drought becomes a reality
April 20. WA DNR  DNR Offering Wildfire Preparation Info for Communities 
March 30. Dept. of Ecology  Forecast: Dust storms and wildfires ahead for Central and Eastern Washington