Idaho Water Resource Board invests in aquifer recharge, irrigation efficiency projects

Idaho News
Capital Press The Idaho Water Resource Board’s Milepost 31 Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer recharge site. Projects adding to recharge capacity are among those funded by the board Nov. 18. Boosting aquifer levels and improving irrigation delivery efficiency are the focus of Idaho Water Resource Board moves to financially support several projects in the state’s south-central and southeast regions. The board Nov. 18 approved a $14.1 million loan to Raft River Recharge Group. Plans call for building a pump station on the Snake River, a 13-mile pipeline, and recharge basins to add water to a declining aquifer in a state-designated critical groundwater management area. The declining aquifer levels are a key factor in intermittent surface flows on the Raft River, a Snake tributary. Most farmers are now pumping groundwater for irrigation,…
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Soil and Water Conservation Commission eyes making grant program permanent

Idaho News
By Brad Carlson; Capital Press Concrete re-lining work on the upper New York Canal in central Boise. Boise Project Board of Control BOISE — The Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission plans to ask the Legislature during next year's session to make a temporary grant program permanent. The 2022 Legislature restarted the commission’s Water Quality Program for Agriculture by approving $5 million. The commission this year issued grants for 47 projects worth about $18.5 million when matching funds are included, said Delwyne Trefz, the administrator. The commission received 93 grant applications seeking $12 million. The projects were valued at more than $30 million when matching funds are included, he said. “The state was going to get a good bang for its buck,” Trefz said. “We’re going to go back and…
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‘Better,’ but not ‘great’: Cold spring likely to extend water for recreation, irrigation

Idaho News
By Erin Banks Rusby; Idaho Press Lucky Peak Lake and Lucky Peak Dam are seen from Lucky Peak Reservoir View Point east of Boise on Wednesday. Jake King/Idaho Press BOISE — Recreation enthusiasts are predicted to get more time than originally forecasted to enjoy Lucky Peak, Cascade, and Deadwood reservoirs this year before they are drawn down to meet irrigation demand. Thanks to a cold, wet spring, Lucky Peak is forecast to reach 70% to 75% capacity this summer, said Mike Meyers, watermaster for Water District 63, which takes direction from the Idaho Department of Water Resources. This translates to two extra weeks to enjoy boating and other water sports before additional water from the reservoir will need to start being released for irrigation purposes, pushing the drawdown date to mid-July, he said. In a…
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Drought, low snowpack may foretell Idaho’s future

Idaho News
Idaho Statesman Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, Boise, ID. Much of Southern Idaho, cut through in scythe like fashion by the Snake River Plain, relies on the frozen water stored in the state’s mountains to fill its rivers. When winter ends and summer’s broiling heat arrives, it is these snowy peaks that serve as the state’s reservoir, filling the Salmon, Snake, Big Lost, Boise and other tributaries with cold, clear water. But as the amount of snowfall declines, with scientists citing the effects of climate change as a key contributor, major problems arise for the state’s ecosystems, residents and agriculture industry. And that erosion is already underway. By the turn of the century, Idaho could see reductions of 35%-65% of its snowpack, according to a study published in Nature Reviews…
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