Monday, April 9, 2018

Idaho’s snowpack poised to peak

BOISE – The Natural Resources Conservation Service has released the fourth water supply outlook report for the 2018 water year. 

Precipitation since the water year started on October 1, 2017, varies across the state with watersheds ranging from 85 to 120% of normal.

“It’s springtime in Idaho; the stage is set, and things are looking interesting for the water supply picture,” said Ron Abramovich, Water Supply Specialist for the Idaho Natural Resources Conservation Service.  “Overall, Idaho’s mountain snowpack generally reaches its peak snow water content in early April.”

Current snowpacks range from half of normal in the Owyhee basin to 120% of normal in the Clearwater and Upper Snake. These amounts are much less than last year, except in the Clearwater and north, where there is more snow than a year ago. 

Now for the interesting part. “We may not have seen the peak snow water content amounts yet, because of these storms that keep rolling in,” Abramovich said.

Streamflow forecasts mirror the current snowpacks ranging from 40% of average in the Owyhee basin to 120% in the Clearwater and Upper Snake basins. Combining these runoff volumes with current reservoir storage will provide adequate irrigation supplies for nearly all users including farmers, fish, power producers, river runners and more. 

March brought abundant high elevation snow to the central mountains and those will hopefully be enough to sustain streamflows in the later summer months for the water users in the Big Wood, Big Lost and Little Lost basins. Bear Lake, Lake Owyhee, Oakley, and Salmon Falls reservoirs are not expected to fill but will provide adequate irrigation supplies for their water users.

For information on specific basins, streams, and reservoirs, please view the full report online at April Water Supply Outlook Report  

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