Last year’s winter is still impacting the water table in some parts of the state. Reservoirs in the Magic Valley continue to have an abundance of water stored, which means a strong start to the hydrologic year.
The water year starts October 1 when irrigation comes to a halt. As the latest cycle gets underway, the Upper Snake River Basin system is at 75 percent of capacity with water levels in reservoirs 180 percent of the 30-year average. In other words, there’s still a lot of water around.
Corey Loveland, who works with the Bureau of Reclamation, tells the Times News waters behind dams throughout the Magic Valley are higher than he’s used to seeing.
All the snow and runoff from last winter ensured canal companies could provide farmers full allotments of irrigation water. In turn, growers could stick with their normal crop rotation instead of being forced to plant fewer, more drought-tolerant varieties.
With reservoirs mostly full and rain and snow coming back into the forecast, water managers will have to make room in the system for flood control.
The last bumper water year for the Magic Valley was 2011.
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