More Drought, Water Shortages Says Idaho Water Expert
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)-An Idaho water specialist is predicting more drought and water shortages this summer in Southern Idaho. In a recent report to the Idaho Water Resource Board, Idaho Department of Water Resources Hydrologist David Hoekema said water supplies across the southern part of the Gem State don't look good for the summer, “The future is not bright,” Hoekema said in a statement. “Fifty percent of the state is currently in severe drought, and that percentage will increase in the coming months. We are predicting water shortages in every basin in Southern Idaho, including the Payette.” Gary Spackman, Director of IDWR, told the board that farmers will more than likely see shortages and curtailments but hoped that they could plan ahead with the information. A wet fall and good snowfall in December last year pointed towards a good start to the water year, said officials, however, the snowpack in the mountains leveled off in early January with little moisture through the rest of the winter. Streamflow from the following river systems is expected to be below average in the 20 to 70 percent range: Snake River, Big Lost, Big Wood, Little Wood, Salmon Falls, Boise, Payette, and Weiser. Hoekema said the Henry's Fork and Bruneau Basin along with tributaries along the Snake River Plain will be in exceptional to extreme drought this summer. The only bright side reported is the northern panhandle region which is expected to be outside drought categories. Hoekema noted April weather will determine if conditions will be worse or slightly better as there is little chance of recovery at this point.