Drought in three Washington regions
at 5:35pm by David Kroman
Governor Inslee declared drought in the Olympics, central Cascades and the Walla Walla region Friday. The decision reflects the lack of snowpack in Washington’s mountainous regions, just 27 percent of what’s considered normal. In the Olympics, snow levels are at a mere 7 percent normal. The fear is that rivers and lakes will be significantly drier due to lack of runoff from snowmelt in the spring and summer.
According to the statement, water suppliers in Tacoma, Everett and Seattle are not worried about supplies. But fishing and agriculture will likely take a hit. The Department of Ecology has reportedly requested $9 million in emergency funds from the legislature for fishing and agriculture projects, emergency water-right permits, changes to existing water rights, and grant water-right transfers.
Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinalt Tribe on the Olympic Peninsula said that the declaration is no surprise “The fact that the snowpack in the Olympic Mountains is just seven percent its normal level is absolutely devastating,” she said in a statement. “But it is, in fact, part of an ongoing problem we have been facing for some time. The salmon are going to suffer due to lack of snowpack, low precipitation and spring and summer runoff. It is a horrible thing to happen,”