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Water Specialists Tracking Changes To Wood River Valley Aquifer Over Time

Erin Murray
Idaho Water Science Center
A U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist measures the water level in a private well.

Hydrologists with the U.S. Geological Survey are working with the Idaho Department of Water Resources to track the amount of water under the Wood River Valley.


Jim Bartolino is with USGS, and helped develop the groundwater flow model in the Sun Valley area with IDWR, which was finished in 2016.

“That aquifer is incredibly responsive to changes in precipitation,” says Bartolino. 

He says that by going back and measuring more than 100 private wells over time, the two agencies can better track what’s going on below the surface. Although USGS does not have any hand in managing water resources, he says by working with IDWR the state can have the data it needs to track and predict problems with the supply.

“It’s a basin that IDWR is concerned about and they’re keeping track of it. So yeah, that’s why we’re monitoring water levels.”

USGS and IDWR staff will visit private well owners from Ketchum to Stanton Crossing south of Bellevue to measure the water supply next week.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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