Water Released in May to Increase Flows at Shoshone Falls
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – You know spring has arrived when water at Shoshone Falls is flowing at 300 cubic feet per second.
“It’s a little more than 300 cfs now,” said Brad Bowlin, an Idaho Power Co. spokesman. “Basically, we’re sending everything we have over the falls.”
As part of its license to operate the Shoshone Falls Power Plant, the company is required to provide daily scenic flows from April 1 through Labor Day during daylight hours
If the falls don’t look as full to you as they have in the past, however, there are a couple of reasons.
Reservoirs in the Upper Snake River Basin are still being filled with spring runoff, and water is being captured for release later this season to help with steelhead migration. Water also is being diverted above Milner Dam for agriculture use through the area’s three big water players – Gooding, Milner and Twin Falls canal companies.
Flows will increase at the falls with continued runoff, some of which will happen sometime in May when the Bureau of Reclamation will release stored water to help give steelhead a push as they travel through Hells Canyon on their way to the Pacific Ocean.
“It’s a coordinated effort and water will be released from various places,” Bowlin said, noting that Idaho Power has some water stored at American Falls that will be released this summer.
How fast does he expect water at Shoshone Falls to flow this year?
“A lot of it depends on what our spring turns out to be like with runoff and how much water is used for irrigation” he said.
The falls might look different to you also because the power company recently completed a two-year project that spreads water across the face of the drop instead of flowing in a central location or two. This improves the appearance of the falls under low-water conditions, Bowlin said.
Want to keep an eye on the flow of the falls? Check out the live camera feed hosted by the City of Twin Falls.
“It gives people a good opportunity to see the falls before they plan a trip,” Bowlin said.