State declares water emergency in Central Washington

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued an emergency declaration to help farmers get irrigation water from behind the Wanapum and Rock Island dams in Central Washington.

KNDU-TV reported that the emergency declaration will remain in effect until April 30. It applies to Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Kittitas counties. It comes in response to the discovery of a cracked spillway at Wanapum Dam near Vantage.

Some irrigation intake pipes were left above the water line when the Wanapum Pool was drawn down to reduce pressure on the dam.

The Wanapum Dam situation also has affected water levels behind the Rock Island Dam near Wenatchee.

The Rock Island Pool will be drawn down during flow tests this weekend, which will give irrigators an idea of the water line and flows expected during the coming irrigation season.

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