Olympia A dramatic drop in stream flows caused by drought has several hundred irrigators in north-central and eastern Washington facing water cutoffs far earlier than normal this year.
These irrigators have water rights that can be restricted when streamflows drop below certain levels (as set by law). Water users will call a hotline to find out if they can irrigate that day.
That's because snowpack in Washington melted a month early, and 43 percent of rivers statewide are now running at record-low levels.
As a result, about 380 irrigators on the Wenatchee, Okanogan, Similkameen, Methow, Colville and Little Spokane rivers are being notified by the Department of Ecology to curtail their water use.