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Bannock County signs emergency drought declaration

BANNOCK COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) – The Bannock County Board of Commissioners, in cooperation with the Bannock County Office of Emergency Management, officially declared a drought emergency in Bannock County on Thursday.

Due to below normal snowpack in the Snake River Basin, and a low water supply, the cumulative snow water equivalent levels are suggesting that many Southern Idaho reservoirs will not fill, or reach capacity this year.

"We're 56% below normal precip for this year," Bannock County Emergency Management Director Wes Jones said. "And of the six lakes and reservoirs that feed our Snake River in which we use for the irrigation systems, there's only one that's 100% full and the rest are below."

The streamflow forecasted in Idaho suggests it is between 25% and 75% of its median levels which will affect commerce in Bannock County. Producers, farmer, and ranchers may be at risk for significant economic losses due to drought-like conditions.

Farm operators are eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), which includes emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months to apply for emergency loans. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with more information. A list of FSA county offices can be found HERE.

On April 18, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, designated Bannock County as a contiguous disaster area because of the county’s proximity to Franklin and Oneida counties, which were named as primary disaster areas due to drought conditions.

The declaration doesn't impact restrictions on municipal water or tap water although citizens are advised to remain conscious about how much water they are using.

The emergency drought declaration will remain in effect until further notice. The Bannock County Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor the region’s drought status. 

Article Topic Follows: Pocatello

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