Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Water managers in Idaho say the largest aquifer in the state has made significant gains this year.

The Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer provides water to the most productive agriculture fields in the state, and is essential to the economy. It also provides drinking water for about 200,000 people. But lately, its size was no match for Mother Nature as a series of droughts dwindled the water supply, along with growing demand from nearby industry.

Idaho Department of Water Resources

It’s no secret that Eastern Idaho has a water problem. There is too much demand and too little water in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer to go around. But how did we get to this point? That’s what this chart is all about.

About 100 years ago, there was roughly 4,000 cubic feet per second of water coming out of the aquifer at Thousand Springs. It’s important to note that’s not how much water was in the aquifer, just how much was flowing out.