Idaho's Water Supplies Dwindling

Published online: Aug 06, 2003
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Idaho's potato growers may slide by a potential water shortage disaster by just a few acre-feet-per-second down the Snake River.

Irrigation water supplies were listed as 11 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 28 percent good, and 1 percent excellent by the Idaho Agricultural Statistics Service.

The Palisades Reservoir, which holds a lot of the storage water for down-stream irrigators, was listed as having 13 percent of its water still available today. A portion of that will not be available to irrigators because the lake's level will fall below outlets.

American Falls Reservoir is in the same fix, showing only 15 percent of its storage water still available. However, the reservoir receives some seepage water from uphill irrigators.

There is no doubt that some irrigation canal companies will have to trim flows down to small streams to help growers finish their crops. Many growers are expected to run out of canal water and will be left with just their pump systems-if they have them.

As of this week, topsoil moisture conditions continue to decline. They are reported to be 33 percent very short, 41 percent short, and 26 percent adequate.

The state's potato crop has had good growing-degree days with temperatures from two-to-10 degrees F above normal. Condition of the crop has been estimated at 2 percent poor, 8 percent fair, 70 percent good, and 20 percent excellent.