Washington State Drought Update

drought responseThe Yakima Valley is experiencing drought conditions not seen since the 1870s.

Water rights that were among the earliest in the Territory of Washington, to be used for irrigation, have been shut off in tributaries of the Yakima River due to extreme drought conditions.

Flows in Cowiche Creek and the Teanaway River are so dire that 129 irrigators with rights conferred as far back as 1873 must stop watering their orchards, hay and alfalfa crops on some 2,153 acres. Read more about the Washington Drought here: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/drought/

Federal Drought Declaration

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 18 counties in Washington State as natural disaster areas because of the statewide drought.  Farmers in these counties will now be eligible for low interest emergency loans to help defray crop and business losses incurred because of the drought.  Eligible counties are:  Adams, Benton, Columbia, Douglas, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, King, Klickitat, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pierce, Skamania, Walla Walla, Whitman and Yakima.

2015 Drought Disaster Updates

This map shows designations due to drought across the country under USDA’s amended rule. Any county declared a primary (red) or contiguous (orange) disaster county makes producers in that county eligible for certain emergency aid. For a text list of counties designated disaster areas, click here.

On May 15th, Governor Inslee declared a statewide drought in Washington, with the legislature allocating $16 million in funds. Some of those funds are to go towards education.

Washington State Department of Ecology recognizes and promotes Rainwater Collection as part of the solution. To read more about how to conserve water, read he article “Water Smart, not Water short” 5 ways to Secure water for Washington’s  Future.

Teanaway River photo courtesy of Department of Ecology

Ken Blair
A rainwater collection systems designer and consultant, Ken has designed and installed residential and commercial systems, primarily in the northwest United States for more than 10 years and, in 2014, began consulting and managing builds in other states. Ken is an accredited ARCSA Professional Designer / Installer and Life Member, the Northwest Regional ARCSA representative and advisor to its education committee and is available to speak about Rainwater Collection Systems design and builds.

Ken is a United States Navy veteran, having served on active duty during the Vietnam War era. He attained the rate of E-4 Machinist Mate.

A career entrepreneur, Ken created a new business focus with a commercial dive company in Hawaii in the mid 1980′s to respond to and clean up oil spills, oil spill equipment training, service and maintenance for the oil co-op service industry. Ken is passionate about having a positive impact on the environment and is also a founding director of BANK-ON-RAIN (2011-2014), whose mission is to create grassroots solutions for rainwater collection for consumption and agriculture in developing areas of the planet.

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