I haven’t had much to say about the drought recently because, well, there hasn’t been much new to report. It’s still pretty dry out there—as this map (courtesy of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service) of Northwest snowpack conditions shows:
In Western Washington, some stream and river flows are near record lows. This is obviously troubling for salmon, as this Seattle Weeklyarticle describes. There is a bit of good news, though: even though the year’s snowpack is actually smaller than it was preceding the drought-ridden summer of 2001, improved water conservation has lessened the risk of supply shocks for the city of Seattle’s water supply:
Another big difference from 2001 is that water consumption is much lower… According to Seattle Public Utilities, 400,000 more people are living in the metropolitan area, but water usage is back to what it was in the early 1970s.
For agriculture, the news is grimmer; it looks like we can expect the costly and heated controversy between fish, farmers, and tribes in the Klamath Basin in southwestern Oregon and northern California to intensify as the summer wears on.