Abundant Precipitation, Reduced Water Use Help Boost Aquifer
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — The water level in an Idaho aquifer increased 1.7 million acre-feet (2.1 billion cubic-meters) over last year.
It's the single largest increase in the water volume in more than 80 years, the Capital Press reported .
Abundant precipitation during the past two years, recharge efforts and reduced water use by farmers boosted the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.
"The stars were lined up," said Vince Alberdi, Idaho Water Resource Board member and former long-time manager of the Twin Falls Canal Company.
Two good winters, good carryover this year, a commitment by groundwater users to reduce consumptive use, the Idaho Water Resource Board's efforts to increase recharge capacity and funding by the Legislature all played a role in increasing water levels in the aquifer, Alberdi said.
"This aquifer will continue to rebound little by little," he said. "It's a win-win deal all the way around."
The Idaho Water Resource Board estimates the aquifer was being depleted by 200,000 acre-feet (246.7 million cubic-meters) a year between 1952 and 2017. Its goal is to recharge 250,000 acre-feet (308.4 million cubic-meters) annually, averaging wet years with dry years, to bring the aquifer to average levels it was at between 1991 and 2001 by 2026. That will take an increase of 3 million acre-feet (3.7 billion cubic-meters).
The Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer is a key element of southern Idaho's economy and covers approximately 10,800 square miles (27,972 square kilometers) of Idaho.