U.S. Geological Survey to measure water levels in southern Idaho’s Snake River Plain

By Mia Maldonado; Idaho Capital Sun

The U.S. Geological Survey announced it will soon begin measuring groundwater levels across southern Idaho, according to a Monday press release.

Survey employees working with the Idaho Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation will measure groundwater levels in more than 1,400 private and public wells in the eastern Snake River Plain between April 3-14.

The region’s aquifer is the area’s primary source of drinking water and irrigation for 1 million acres of farmland in the state aquaculture industry, according to the news release.

The collected data will help water experts understand the status of the aquifer ahead of the irrigation season, and the IDWR will use the data to improve its computer model of the aquifer.

Water technicians collect aquifer measurements every five years, with the last large-scale measurement having taken place in 2018.

In the news release, IDWR hydrology section manager Sean Vincent said the mass measurement is like “taking a snapshot of the aquifer.”

“We would greatly appreciate well owners’ cooperation in the study by granting our technicians access to their wells,” Vincent said in the release. “Privately owned wells are a valuable source of information. The more wells from which we can gather information, the better our assessment of the current state of the aquifer will be.”

Carrying official government identification, technicians will work with well owners to ask about any changes to the well since the last measurement and how long it has been since the well was last pumped. Technicians will measure the water level in the well using a steel tape or an electronic water level meter and report the results to the owner.

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