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Idaho Aquifer Making Storage Strides Even With Heat Wave

Frankie Barnhill
Boise State Public Radio
This green agricultural field near Twin Falls comes curtesy of water in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.

Water managers in Idaho say the largest aquifer in the state has made significant gains this year.

The Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer provides water to the most productive agriculture fields in the state, and is essential to the economy. It also provides drinking water for about 200,000 people. But lately, its size was no match for Mother Nature as a series of droughts dwindled the water supply, along with growing demand from nearby industry.

But thanks to an especially wet winter and new limits placed on water users – the aquifer has made a bit of a recovery. According to the Capital Press newspaper, estimates from March show some wells connected to the system had increased about by about two feet. Those wells are called “sentinel wells,” and will continue to be monitored as part of a renegotiation with irrigators last year. The first goal of the agreement was to stabilize the water supply to 2016 levels, and that’s now been achieved.

State water managers will next dig into how recharge efforts – where water is let back into the aquifer – has strengthened this spring’s gains.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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