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Environment

Eastern Idaho Snake River Plain Aquifer Recharge Surpassed Ahead Of Schedule

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Tom Banse
/
Northwest News Network
The Milepost 31 aquifer recharge site is the largest on the Eastern Snake Plain.

Idaho’s largest aquifer has surpassed its goal when it comes to recharging the water that goes into it this season.

The Idaho Water Resource Board began pumping water back into the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer a few years ago. Water levels in the aquifer have significantly dropped over decades of overuse in agriculture.

So water managers began recharge efforts to help replenish the sprawling underground storage system.

With eight weeks left in the recharge season, the Idaho Water Resource Board says they’ve already reached their water level goal for the winter. They expect that amount to go up as winter snow melts this spring.

And that’s a good thing, since only a couple years ago the state was in a prolonged drought. Water managers say surplus years like last year and this season are crucial for building up a reserve for when dry spells hit.

The Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer is the only drinking water source for about 300,000 people in Eastern Idaho. The natural sprawling aquifer starts near the Idaho-Montana border and flows all the way west of Twin Falls.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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