IDAHO’S WATER SUPPLY OUTLOOK REMAINS STRONG
BOISE – The Natural Resources Conservation Service has just released the second water supply outlook report for the 2016 water year. Idaho’s mountain snowpack ranges from 150% of normal across southern Idaho to near normal in the Bear River, Upper Snake, Central Idaho, Clearwater and Panhandle Region.
“Precipitation since the water year started October 1, 2015 closely mirrors the snowpack percent of averages,” noted Ron Abramovich, water supply specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. “The lowest ones are about 95% of average in the Spokane, Upper Snake, and Bear River basins. Near normal precipitation has fallen across eastern Idaho to the Clearwater basin. The West Central Mountains along with the Panhandle Region have received 110 to 120% of normal. The highest water year precipitation totals are 130 to155% of average in the Owyhee, Bruneau and Salmon Falls basins. This is great news for these southern Idaho basins. Hopefully they will be able to start their recovery from the four year drought.”
Based on Idaho’s January’s Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI), irrigation supplies should be adequate across most of the state, but are still marginal at best in the Big Wood, Big Lost and Little Lost basins.
With a near normal or better snowpack across the state, winter and summer recreationists should also be happy. Avalanche dangers are still present; backcountry skiers and snowmobilers should use caution and check current conditions before venturing into Idaho’s mountains. The highest snowpacks are across Idaho’s southern border at 150% of median and guarantees the whitewater runoff season will be much better than the past few seasons.
“The game’s not over yet, though,” Abramovich said. “Another round of storms is needed during February to maintain these streamflow forecasts and water supply outlooks.”
For information on specific basins, streams, and reservoirs, please view the full report online at February Water Supply Outlook Report.