Hydrologist: Water levels 'worst since 1998'

Credit: Troy Colson / KTVB

Hydrologist: Water levels 'worst since 1998'

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on January 3, 2014 at 6:43 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 3 at 6:43 PM

BOISE -- We've seen beautiful weather for skiers and snowboarders to hit the slopes at Bogus Basin, despite the fact that the resorts haven't received as much snow as they'd like.

2013's dry summer has been followed by yet another dry winter, and the lack of snow could have a major effect on the Treasure Valley.

Natural Resources Conservation Service Hydrologist Ron Abramovich says it's created a bad situation when it comes to water levels.

"It's basically the worst since 1998," said Abramovich.

Abramovich says right now the mountain snow pack in our area is 55 percent of normal. And what makes the situation even worse is that the last few years have been dry as well.

"When you are looking at three years, it makes it tough to get through the season," said Abramovich.

Abramovich says we're experiencing a winter drought, following two years of less than normal snow pack.

He says what the valley needs now is several storms, bringing lots of precipitation.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed, but right now it looks like the high pressure is going to move in in January and the storms will go around us," said Abramovich.

Meanwhile, you can see the winter drought in the rivers as well.

Bureau of Reclamation hydrologist Mary Mellema tells us the current capacity of the reservoirs in the system is 38 percent of capacity.

Mellema says last summer was tough on farmers as well, as many irrigation districts had to shut off early.

And she says recovering from that drought will now be even more difficult.

"If our carry over storage is really low and we don't get the run off we need, there is a concern than we can supply all the water needed in the valley," said Mellema.

As the concern grows, the waiting game begins, and experts hope the snow will fall, and the rivers will fill.

"You just really have to wait and see but it would be really nice in the next couple of months if we could pick up more snow, we really need it," said Mellema.

Hydrologists tell us April first marks the end of the winter season, and they hope to have the precipitation needed by that time.

 

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