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Water researchers release study on possible storage sites

After nearly two years of collaboration, the Bureau of Reclamation’s Henry’s Fork Basin Water Supply study group released a report that lists potential future water supply alternatives.

Researchers looked at different storage sites in the basin, including the upper valley’s old Teton Dam.

In an effort to improve water supply conditions in eastern Idaho, researchers are looking for additional places to store it.

“The storage reservoirs are to provide insurance water during drought years,” said Dale Swensen, executive director of the Fremont Madison Irrigation District. Using above-ground storage or aquifer storage, ensures water reaches everyone.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the average person uses between 80 to 100 gallons of water on a daily basis. Assuming a 2% annual population growth, water demand would double over the next 40 years.

“Some years we don’t use a lot of storage water, but other years we pretty well use every bit we have available to us,” said Swensen.

Researchers compiled a list of 28 options, including the Ashton Dam, Blackfoot Dam, Horseshoe Creek and even the old Teton Dam.

“Engineering wise it’s possible to build a safe dam there in the canyon where it was built before — you bet,” said Swensen.

Researchers say the study is in it’s very early stages. Next, researchers will look at the environmental impacts of each alternative.

The final phase of the study will last about a year and will wrap-up with a final basin study report by the end of the year.

To view the complete interim report, visit

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