Friday, April 2, 2010

Snowpack Numbers are Below Average

April 1 is the official start to the irrigation season. KTVB reporter Ty Brennan spoke with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)to find out if there will be enough water to sustain farmers throughout the season.

Ron Abramovich, a hydrologist with the NRCS, tested the snowpack in the Mores Creek area near Idaho City. As Spring approaches, the information gathered is extremely important for planning for the next year. "If we can more accurately forecast it, users can plan ahead whether they're going to have too much, or too little water like this year the way it's shaping up to be," says Abramovich.

Even with the recent snowfall in the mountains, the findings from their research shows this year will be short on water.

According to Abramovich 80% of all the precipitation in Idaho comes in the form of snow, that's why hydrologists say it's so important to keep an eye on the numbers.

"With the snowpack 30 percentage points below average, we're going to expect and see below-average stream flow this year, it's going to be tough to fill the reservoirs, so the reservoir operators will be monitoring it pretty closely," says Abramovich.

One of those people keeping a very close eye on the numbers is Rex Barrie. As the Boise Watermaster, he regulates all the water flow in the Boise Basin.

"We're concerned about the reservoirs filling this year. this is good news this extra ten inches, a couple inches of water helps, every little bit helps, but we're still very concerned," says Barrie.

Hydrologists say we should have enough water to make it through this season because of current water levels, but next season could be a different story.

"This year we'll probably have enough water to make it through the season but it will leave us in a short supply at the end of the water season. So, if we have a back-to-back short water year as far as snowpack goes that puts us into next year with the question, do we have enough water to make it through the irrigation season?" says Barrie.

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