- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - Washington state has told several hundred irrigators in north-central and eastern Washington to stop irrigating because river flows have dropped too low.

The Department of Ecology says about 380 irrigators on the Wenatchee, Okanogan, Similkameen, Methow, Colville and Little Spokane rivers won’t be able to divert water until water levels rise again.

Those affected are users with newer water rights, issued in recent decades and which can be restricted when river flows fall below a limit set by state law.

State officials say the restrictions come much earlier in the year than is normal because of the lack of snow in the mountains this winter.

Snow in the mountains melts slowly in the spring and summer and feeds rivers, but the state’s snowpack melted away a month earlier than usual and many rivers are running at record lows.

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