Apr 12, 2017
Idaho’s water supply outlook shows plenty of water

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released the fourth water supply outlook report for the 2016 water year. Precipitation since the water year started on Oct. 1, 2016, is above average across the state, and record breaking in the Big Wood Basin above Hailey at 180 percent of average. Other basins are seeing their highest snowpack in two decades.

Northern Idaho (Panhandle Region and Clearwater basins) are the closest to normal snowpack conditions across the state this year. Overall, the Salmon River basin snow is 130 percent of median, the best since 2006. The Weiser snowpack is mostly melted at 105 percent of median.

Overall, the Payette basin is 118 percent of median. The snowpack in the Boise headwaters is 140 to 160 percent of median – its highest since 1997.

The Big Wood basin snowpack remains record high since the 7-station index starts in 1961. The Little Wood snow is 174 percent of median, the highest since 1983. At 174 percent of median, the Big Lost snowpack is the highest since 1997.

As a whole, the Henrys Fork snowpack is 114 percent of median. The rest of the Upper Snake River tributaries range from 179 percent of median in the Hoback basin to 119 percent in the Salt. The Snake above Palisades Reservoir snowpack is 141 percent of median, the highest since 1997.

The Willow, Blackfoot and Portneuf basins range from 87 to 115 percent of median. At 143 percent of median, the Bear River snowpack is at its highest since 1997. Snowpacks across Idaho’s southern border range from 100 to 120 percent of median and have lost some of the mid-elevation snow, but the higher elevation snow is still near normal or better.

Based on Idaho’s Surface Water Supply Index, “There are no expected water supply shortages expected across 99 percent of the state,” said Shawn Nield, Snow Survey Program manager for NRCS Idaho. “The greatest concern, especially in southern Idaho, is too much snow and how to safely release the excess water.”

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

Source: Natural Resource Conservation Service – Idaho

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