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Snowfall leads to end of drought, according to Ecology

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Recent snowfall in the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges signals the end of a statewide drought declaration, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology.

The drought emergency declaration will not be extended into 2016 per Gov. Jay Inslee's Executive Water Emergency Committee (EWEC) recommendation to the Department of Ecology.

Heavy rains and snow have eliminated the drought in Western Washington and it is rapidly disappearing in Eastern Washington, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. EWEC determined that current conditions do not meet the criteria required by law for the declaration of a drought emergency.

According to the news release, water supplies must be below 75 percent of normal and water users must be suffering hardships from a water shortage or expected to suffer hardships for the declaration of a drought emergency.

The release states that much of Washington's water supply comes from snowpack accumulations, which statewide are more than 100 percent of normal for this time of year.

An emergency drought declaration allows expedited emergency water right permitting and the expenditure of drought relief funds to alleviate hardships from water shortages. This year, Ecology and other state agencies responding to the drought spent $5.6 million.

Forecasts for January through March are for warmer, drier conditions as a result of El Nino.

The state's Water Supply Advisory Committee will continue to monitor water supply.

Copyright 2015 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: December 31, 2015

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