Drought delcaration expanded; Kettle and Colville included

Roger Harnack

Gov. Jay Inslee yesterday expanded his previous drought declaration to include 24 more watersheds, including the Colville and Kettle rivers.
The expanded declaration also includes the Chelan, Entiat, Lower Yakima, Naches and Wenatchee watersheds in Eastern Washington.
Inslee initially declared a drought emergency April 4 for only three watersheds — the Methow, Okanogan and Upper Yakima.
In addition to the Eastern Washington watersheds added, Inslee declared a drought for the Western Washington watersheds of Cowlitz, Deschutes, Elwha-Dungeness, Grays-Elochoman, Kennedy-Goldsborough, Lower Chehalis, Lower Skagit-Samish, Lyre-Hoko, Naches, Nooksack, Queets-Quinault, Quilcene-Snow, Skokomish-Dosewallips, Soleduc, Stillaguamish, Upper Chehalis, Upper Skagit and Willapa.
Inslee claims the drought conditions are a result of global warming.
According to the state Department of Ecology, snowpack is less than 50 percent of average for this time of year.
Meteorologists expect warmer, drier weather this summer despite last week's rainfall.
Despite this past week’s rain, rainfall totals for the state remain below normal.
“The emergency declaration allows us to expedite emergency water right permitting and make funds available to government entities to address hardships caused by drought conditions,” Ecology Director Maia Bellon said, noting the Legislature appropriated $2 million for drought response this year.