Get Drought Ready: New Extension Site Offers Updates, Conservation Tips for Dry Year

http://drought.wsu.edu
A new WSU Extension website is devoted helping state residents and farmers handle a dry year.

Let’s face it. Washington is in a drought. And there is a lot that we can do about it – with help from the just-launched WSU Extension’s drought website.

Developed by WSU Agricultural Weather Network Program (AgWeatherNet) and WSU Extension, the WSU Extension Drought Website shares timely updates and a wealth of water conservation information to help state residents and farmers handle a dry year – and perhaps beyond.

“We are all dependent on our waters,” said Gerrit Hoogenboom, AgWeatherNet director. “The long range weather outlook continues to suggest enhanced odds of warmer and perhaps drier than normal conditions for Washington through early 2016.”

That’s why the drought website was developed: To provide farmers, ranchers, homeowners, foresters and the general public with research-based publications, drought updates, useful links, as well as news on drought-related issues. Topics covered include conservation tips for the home and garden, irrigation management, forestry, crops and livestock.

A Drought Basics page helps residents understand what happens in a drought. There’s also a Washington Drought Twitter feed, where you can sign up to follow updates, and a link to AgWeatherNet, which operates 160 automated weather stations in Washington and Oregon and helps farmers plan and react to weather.

Drought begins

The current drought began last winter. Although Washington had average to above-average precipitation this year, there has been significantly less snowpack due to higher-than-normal temperatures. This in turn affects water supplies for irrigation and stream flows that depend on melting snowpack throughout the summer and early fall. According to AgWeatherNet, Washington may not only be facing a low water-supply situation, but also higher demand, since water may evaporate more in warmer, drier conditions.

Link to more information

Learn more about Washington’s water including water quality resources, publications and updates on the latest research at WSU Extension’s Washington Water website.

By Bob Simmons, program  leader, WSU Extension Water Resources