By Ann McCreary
The runoff forecast for the Methow River for June through September is 75 percent of normal, which means water users with interruptible water rights will likely face restrictions again this summer.
Water right holders with interruptible rights in the Methow Valley river basin have been sent a letter from the state Department of Ecology advising them of the river runoff forecast for the coming irrigation season.
“Based on this forecast, it is very likely that water use restrictions will be imposed this summer for water users with water right permits and certificates provisioned with instream flows,” wrote Susan Burgdorff-Beery of Ecology’s Methow Field Office.
Ecology will operate a toll-free River Flow Information Line this summer. A recorded message will state whether each river is above or below the minimum flows and whether water users may withdraw or divert water under their water rights, according to the letter sent to water right holders.
When river levels drop close to minimum flows allowed by Ecology, water right holders will receive notice from Ecology’s Central Regional Office with the phone number and when users should call.
Forecasts for the Okanogan River and Similkameen Rivers ranged from 70-81 percent of normal, which also makes it likely that water use restrictions will need to be imposed later in the summer for water users with interruptible rights in the Okanogan River basin.
People with questions can contact Ecology’s Central Regional Office at (509) 575-2597 or the Methow Valley Field Office in Winthrop at 996-8273.