OLYMPIA — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has expanded a drought emergency to nearly half the state because of worsened, poor water-supply levels and warmer and drier weather predicted through the summer.
The governor declared drought for the Methow, Okanogan and Upper Yakima basins in April. He added 24 more basins this month, including a large portion of Western and Central Washington and extending east to the Colville basin. Seattle, Tacoma and Everett areas were not included in the declaration.
In Snohomish County, the Stillaguamish and upper Skagit river drainages are part of the emergency declaration.
Many areas of the state saw lower-than-normal snowpack this winter. A warm, dry spring quickly melted much of the snow that did accumulate.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service says every water basin in the state is below the 30-year median for snowpack.
The declaration allows expedited emergency water right permitting and allows the state to address drought hardships.