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Idaho drought continues despite recent snow

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Last week's late-season snowfall will not help meet upcoming summer drought issues.

According to members of the water supply committee, which met early Friday morning, 82% of the state is at a moderate level of drought or worse.

“As we're coming into this year, we see the reservoir peak a little bit here," Hydrologist for the Idaho Department of Water Resources David Hoekema said. "In order to have an adequate irrigation supply, there's almost no chance at this point.”

Local reservoirs were nearly depleted in 2021.

Going into 2022, the Ririe Reservoir stands at 66% capacity and Palisades at 39%.

But officials say it's not enough.

“There is a chance that maybe this year we'll have enough water to pull through adequate and adequate supply for the year. But we'll probably end up at the end of the year with an empty reservoir system," Hoekema said.

The drought affects more than irrigation and agriculture.

USDA officials believe it will affect tourist activities near Jackson and Yellowstone.

“Jackson Lake is not expected to fill at this time," said Jeremy Dalling with the US Bureau of Reclamation. "Yeah, we're actually not anticipating getting up to some of the boat ramps that people would typically use as well. So it's going to be a low year for Jackson Lake.”

Officials said to end the drought, Idaho would need a very different spring and summer.

“The chance of really recovering from a drought would require us to continue to have a really cool, wet spring and summer going forward," Hoekema said.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho
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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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