Washington Drought
5:40 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Northwest Farmers Prepare For Short Water Year

Satellite images show the difference in the Washington state snowpack between 2013 and 2015.
Washington Department of Ecology

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 5:37 pm

Across the Northwest, farmers are already making tough calls because of this year’s drought. The dismal snowpack is to blame.

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Food, Agriculture
5:47 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

New Methow Valley Irrigation System To Rejuventate Fish

About $10 million will be used for a new irrigation system in Methow Valley that will give fish cool, clean water and reduce water leakage.
Credit Benjamin Cody

Construction begins this week on a state project in the Methow Valley that will give fish a boost of cold, clean water in rivers near Twisp, Wash.

The state and a trout conservation group are pouring about $10 million into a whole new irrigation system there.

Back in 2011, the Methow Valley Irrigation District was fined more than $30,000 for its old, leaky irrigation system. The state determined it was wasting water through too much seepage in its open canals.

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Marijuana Regulation
5:52 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Washington Pot Growers May Not Get Federal Irrigation Water

The U.S. government is deciding whether it will give marijuana growers access to federal water.
Credit Brett Levin / Flickr

Farmers in eastern Washington who want to get into the marijuana business may face an immediate hurdle. Right now the U.S. government is deciding whether it will give growers access to federal water. The agricultural heart of the state depends on these irrigation systems.

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5:42 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Farmers Struggle To Secure Fish Screens And Water In Time

Many irrigation pipes don’t reach the lowered Columbia River behind the cracked Wanapum Dam.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

Dozens of central Washington fruit farmers are still high and dry without water for their valuable fruit trees. Many irrigation pipes don’t reach the lowered Columbia River behind the cracked Wanapum Dam.

But it turns out the farmers’ rush for water is now being slowed because of concerns over endangered tiny baby salmon. 

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Wanapum Dam
6:51 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Washington Fruit Farmers Scramble To Irrigate From Lowered Columbia River

Frosty Hansen, 74, of near Wenatchee, says he’s going to help his neighbors irrigate their fruit trees, since many of their pipes don’t reach the Columbia River. The Wanapum pool has been lowered about 25 feet to relieve pressure on the cracked dam.
Credit Anna King

And now an update on the cracked Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River in Eastern Washington.  Dam engineers are continuing to keep the pool behind the ailing structure drawn down to relieve pressure.  So far they don’t know how bad the crack in the dam’s spillway is, but they are still investigating.

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Klamath Water Crisis
6:54 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Trinity River Water Could Save Klamath Fish, But California Farmers Need It Too

Water struggles in the Klamath Basin are spreading to the Trinity River. Managers at the federal Bureau of Reclamation say by releasing extra water from the Trinity into the Klamath River, they may avoid a fish kill.

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Klamath Basin Water
6:39 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Temporary Rules Protect Drinking Water For People And Cattle In The Klamath Basin

The Oregon Water Resources Commission has approved temporary rules that prioritize drinking water for people and cattle in the Klamath Basin.

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Main Canal Leak
4:58 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Irrigation Canal Rupture Could Stress Many Eastern Washington Farms

Bureau of Reclamation

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 3:41 pm

A major irrigation canal has sprung a leak in Eastern Washington. That could stress crops across a huge swath of the Columbia Basin just as the weather inches up into the 80s this weekend.

The river-like Main Canal of the aging Columbia Basin Project is largely out of commission. Six concrete panels that line it buckled and have to be replaced. Workers have to lower the flows on hundreds of miles of canals downstream from the break for days so they can pour new concrete.

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