Washington’s 2015 drought losses estimated at $700 million

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With snowpack levels still sitting above normal for mid-April, Washington growers have little reason to worry about water supplies this season. But two years ago, the worst drought in state history was just getting started and by the end of 2015, it had cost farmers about $700 million.

Record heat and drought conditions were felt across the state that year, but they hit tree fruit growers with junior water rights especially hard. Apple growers in the Yakima River Basin with pro-ratable water rights reported losing several thousand dollars an acre due to lower yields and lower quality fruit, in addition to the cost of operating emergency wells and other mitigation measures.


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