Aquifers

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

It’s 60 miles across, mostly hidden from view and vital to the economy of Idaho. Much of the time, the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer gets little attention, even from people who rely on it every day. Without it, farmland would disappear and cities from Twin Falls to Rexburg would dry up. As we begin our series on water in Idaho, we take a closer look at the state’s largest “body” of water, hidden underneath the Snake River Plain.

Idaho officials are requiring well users pumping water from a large aquifer to install measuring devices to better monitor their water usage.

The Capital Press reports that the Idaho Department of Water Resources says the devices must be installed by 2018 on wells drawing from the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.

inl.gov

Scientists say a continued drop in underground water levels could make it harder to monitor the movement of radioactive contamination in an aquifer below an eastern Idaho nuclear facility.

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey in a 36-page report released Monday say the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer has dropped below two wells and about a dozen more could go dry due to drought.

deq.idaho.gov

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) this week released several reports on important aquifers around the country. Idaho’s Snake River Plain Basin features in two of those reports. About a fifth of Idahoans rely on that aquifer as their only source of drinking water.

KelleyTravel / Flickr

A new study says the nation’s aquifers are shrinking at an alarming rate The problem is not as bad in the Northwest, thanks to an abundance of rivers and streams. But even here, aquifers are shrinking.

Think of all the water in Lake Erie. Then double it. That’s how much water has drained since 1900 from aquifers in the U.S. When these underground water bodies shrink, it means less water for cities, farms and streams.