Water

Chinook Salmon, fish
Pacific Northwest National Lab / Flickr Creative Commons

The reputation of what is generally considered Idaho's premier and nationally renowned fly fishing destination has taken a beating after three years of drought, but Silver Creek could get its groove back this season as abundant water fills its channels.

With the fishing season opening this weekend, anglers hope the resurgence draws brown and rainbow trout to bite artificial flies dancing on the stream's mirror-smooth surface. The area, which attracted luminaries such as Ernest Hemingway in the 1940s, also is a prime spot for birders and nature enthusiasts.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

As dam officials bump up the water flow on the Boise River yet again this week, it’s a good time to take a look at the numbers that matter during this flooding event.

This week, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to raise the water level at the Glenwood Bridge to 8,500 cubic feet per second. As of Wednesday, crews were pushing 9,240 cfs of water out of Lucky Peak Dam. Gina Baltrusch with the Walla Walla District of the Corps says about 1,000 cfs is being diverted into irrigation canals and the rest is flowing down the Boise.

John Miller

The Owyhee Project provides water from the Owyhee Reservoir to almost 1,800 farms in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon. But despite ample snow and rain this winter, the irrigation district will charge $4 more per acre for water this season.

That’s because the irrigation system is in need of repairs, according to the Capital Press newspaper. The Owyhee project was built in 1932 and is close to reaching its expected life span.

Jim Jones

Before he was a member of the Idaho Supreme Court, Jim Jones was part of the biggest water fight in the Gem State’s modern history. Jones has a new book out that chronicles that time.

Jones was elected to the first of two terms as Idaho Attorney general in 1982. Not long after he started the job, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a decision that reversed 30 years of policy and essentially gave Idaho Power priority of control over much of the water in the Snake River.

NMID

Water will start flowing through Boise’s irrigation canals starting next Monday. The Treasure Valley’s largest irrigation district says they expect to have plenty of water this season.

For 112 years, the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District has been providing irrigation water to the Treasure Valley. Next week’s launch of the irrigation season will be the 113th consecutive year for the District.

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

Inspection officials found a live quagga mussel on a boat on the Idaho/Nevada border. It’s the third infested boat found this year trying to enter the state.

The boat was found at the U.S. Highway 93 inspection station. It spent the last three months at Lake Havasu, which is infested with quagga and zebra mussels.

Chris Carlson / AP

 The northern Idaho city of Moscow is saving hundreds of thousands of gallons of water since implementing a conservation plan last year that provides rebates to customers who swap out their old toilets for more water-efficient ones.

Ernie Seckinger / Flickr Creative Commons

Health officials say septic systems are the likely source of wastewater contamination in several private wells near the southwest Idaho city of Nampa.

KIVI-TV reported Tuesday that Southwest District Health and the Department of Environmental Quality completed a review of nine private wells.

Southwest District Health spokeswoman Laurie Boston says none of the wells tested positive for E. coli bacteria but evidence indicates wastewater is starting to affect all the wells in the area.

Ben Rogers / Flickr

Very cold weather is moving into Idaho and that could mean frozen pipes. Suez, the company that handles water for the Treasure Valley, has some tips for homeowners.

If your pipes freeze, the first person to call is your water company. That’s according to Miguel Castro, a Field Service Technician at Suez. He says they can tell you if the problem is in your pipes, or the meter box that belongs to Suez.

Castro says that call could save you some money.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

A group of scientists and trainers will work with volunteers Saturday to monitor the quality of water in the Boise River. 

Joe Rubin / Flickr Creative Commons

Two more wells providing drinking water in the southwest Idaho city of Nampa have tested positive for E. coli bacteria, which can cause intestinal illnesses.

Southwest District Health tells the Idaho Press-Tribune in a story on Thursday that six previous wells found to be contaminated with E. coli are still testing positive.

Testing of the private wells is voluntary, and the health district isn't releasing the exact locations. Officials say there have been no reports of illnesses connected to the contamination.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Kevin Vierra stands in his living room, admiring the Eagle home he bought in July. It’s full of alder wood floors and cabinets. The counters are granite. Outside, he looks over a small creek.

Vierra and his wife, Vicki, moved here from Manteca, California just three months after visiting a friend who’d already relocated to the area.  Vierra – fresh off a career as a police officer – had grown tired of his native state’s crime and traffic. Now, he uses trips to the airport, both there and here, as an example of how his quality of life has improved.

Monica Gokey

Idaho is pretty well off, water-wise, compared to other arid Western states. But as the Treasure Valley grows, different water users are poised to square off over a finite water supply.

Here's the pickle: The population of the Treasure Valley is expected to more than double in the coming decades. And that has urban planners thinking ahead. But while it seems like the Treasure Valley is flush with potential water sources, a lot of that water is already spoken for by the agricultural sector.

 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

There’s a legal fight going on over control of water in the Treasure Valley. The rhetoric in the fight has been intense. One side even has an ad campaign. 

Imagine a movie-theater preview voice comes up over cheery music reminiscent of a babbling brook. 

“Irrigation water, it makes the Treasure Valley a lush green miracle instead of a desert landscape. Imagine a typical 105 degree summer day. Now imagine your irrigation water is completely shut off to your lawn, garden, farm or favorite park.” The music stops.

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.

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