Latest Snowpack Map Shows Continued Improvement In Idaho's Water Supply

Mar 6, 2014

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Credit NRCS/USDA

The latest map showing the water content of Idaho’s snowpack reveals the state continues to make up significant deficits seen early this winter.

Idaho has 21 basins where the Natural Resources Conservation Service measures snow accumulation and then assesses how the water content compares to that of a normal year. As of Thursday, all but five are at 80 percent of their average, or greater.

The Boise River basin is at 95 percent. The Payette River basin is 94. Most areas in central, northern and eastern Idaho are now above 100 percent of their normal snowpack levels.

The numbers reveal a drastic turnaround over the past month. Essentially, what water managers, farmers and business owners had feared would be a bad water year, has become a pretty good one.

Despite the change in fortunes, some basins remain well below average. The worst-off include the Owyhee (52 percent), Bruneau (67), Weiser (71), Little Wood (74) and Salmon Falls (77) basins.

The latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows most of Idaho continues to experience drought conditions. Sections of Elmore, Gooding, Lincoln and Jerome counties are the worst off. They're considered to be suffering from extreme drought conditions. Experts say the recent precipitation hasn’t been enough to overcome several years’ worth of abnormally dry conditions. 

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