The statewide snowpack level is less than 10 percent of normal, and about one-fifth of the state’s rivers and streams are at record low levels.
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With Washington state experiencing the worst mountain snowpack in decades and a drought emergency declared two weeks ago, farmers, growers and wildlife managers are preparing for a tough summer as conditions are expected to worsen.
Some farmers and irrigators are forgoing watering crops and pastures for all or part of the season in exchange for lease payments from the state. Others are seeking permission to tap emergency wells or drill new ones. A large irrigation district in the Yakima River basin shut off the water for a few weeks this month to save supply for later.