Groundwater

snake river, canyon
ChadH / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

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.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Water managers are crediting a new Idaho law with keeping water from leaving the state.

Idaho Department of Water Resources bureau chief Brian Patton says the updated policy is making things a little better for the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer. He says the state's existing water right is for one 1,200 cubic feet per second. But with all the snow southern Idaho received this winter, 15 times that amount was flowing down the river at different points.

Samantha Wright/Boise State Public Radio

Legal challenges have been filed against Idaho officials over a groundwater management area created in November.

John Carricaburu / USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey and the Idaho Department of Water Resources have begun work on a new model that will track how groundwater flows in the Treasure Valley. Underground aquifers store most of the Treasure Valley’s water.

The model is meant to help resource managers understand the aquifer system, at a time when demand for water continues to grow as the valley’s population increases.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Earlier in this series, we told you about the importance of ground water in Idaho. The state relies on underground aquifers and private wells to quench the thirst of 90-95 percent of the population.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

When I turn on a sink I often wonder where the water is coming from. It turns out when I’m getting a drink in our newsroom kitchenette in east Boise I can see the answer through the window. It’s the Boise River. If I could go up the faucet and through the pipes I’d come out less than a mile upstream at the Marden water treatment plant off of Warm Springs Blvd.

Mark Snider with Suez, the multi-national company that supplies drinking water to most of Boise and some of Eagle says this was their first surface water treatment plant in Boise.

Talo Pinto / Flickr Creative Commons

Like much of Idaho, people in the Wood River Valley rely on groundwater. Now, water managers have a new way of understanding the way surface water and groundwater are connected in the region, and potential problems with the supply.