PGI Says Water Situation 'Critical'
In a news announcement made Monday by the Potato Growers of Idaho, members were told that it appears the Idaho irrigation water supply situation is becoming critical.
"As we look toward the planting season...growers need to be aware that the water storage situation is not what we would like it to be," PGI said.
"The Snotel Report shows the situation is probably not as good as it was even last year. On April 5, 2003, the Upper Palisades Basin stood at 94 percent of normal. Today it stands at just 71 percent.
"The reservoir system is only 52 percent full. One year ago, the reservoirs stood at 64 percent of normal."
PGI said reports are circulating that wells have gone dry. It is generally agreed the ground itself is dry at this point.
PGI advised growers to check with their water masters to understand what the company's supply may be; check with their crop insurance agent to make sure terms for payment are understood with programs like prevented planting; and, consider switching to less water-intense crops like wheat. Contracts (for wheat) are still in the $4.25 per bushel range.