We’ve made it over halfway through winter and snowpack at the Boise basin is at about 75 percent median, which is below normal. Normal would be around 100 percent. And while frigid winter storms go through the midwest, states like Idaho just aren’t getting as much.
"How it accumulates in mountains varies from year to year," says Ron Abramovich, the water supply specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. "This year, we’re just a little bit below normal. A lot of storms are hitting the midwest and east, so that’s where a lot of storms are dumping their precipitation right now."
Abramovich says that last year, storms started arriving mid-February, so he’s hopeful more snowfall will come before the season ends. He wants to see 64 percent streamflow for water users of the basin, but says that still won’t be enough to meet irrigation supplies.
"Hopefully we get more than that, and that will provide some carryover for next year. We’ll hope for the best to see what comes in the second half of winter," he says.
Too much snowpack in winter can cause flooding during spring. Abramovich says too little snowpack comes with its own set of potential problems, such as farmers running out of water too soon.
He says this will still be a runoff season, but says those who wish to float the Boise River might have a better time doing so earlier in the summer.
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