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Officials may allow farmers to tap Yakima Basin emergency wells

LACEY, Wash. (AP) - State ecology officials are considering issuing permits for emergency wells in the drought-stricken Yakima Basin.

Capital Press reports that the permits would acknowledge that farmers in that area are facing a crisis.

The Department of Ecology had previously said it would not allow pumping from the wells until it had leased an equal amount of surface water to return to streams. That was to balance drawing groundwater from watersheds.

But agency drought coordinator Jeff Marti said Friday that events are moving too fast to wait for lawmakers to appropriate drought relief funds or for the agency to acquire water.

The Roza Irrigation District's decision this week to cut off water for at least 15 days starting Monday caused DOE to rethink its plans.

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