Boise River flows to increase again

More water releases at local reservoirs to make room for precipitation.

BOISE -- Greenbelt users and residents along the Boise River are no doubt getting sick of the flooding and high water.

But it's not over yet.

Ada County announced Thursday the Boise River flows are going to be turned up again Monday, with an increase of 300 cubic feet per second. The river will increase an additional 300 cfs Tuesday.

MORE: Crews continue to monitor downed tree in Boise River

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates the river will be running at 9,500 cfs at the Glenwood Bridge Tuesday. Water was moving at 8,860 cfs at that spot Thursday morning.

Since February, the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation have played the balancing game on the amount of water in our reservoirs and river systems.

"We're just trying to keep enough room in the reservoir so if something worse, something we can't see does come, rain or something, that we have room for that and we don't just have to flush it through to Boise," Russel Lodge, a hydraulics engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.

It's been a balancing act that Mother Nature keeps throwing off.

"That rain is the risk and that's a risk that is now present again in the forecast and that's the driver of why we're increasing flows," Chris Runyan with the Bureau of Reclamation said.

Runyan says the precipitation for the month of April was 300% above normal, which they say equates to receiving three months rain in a one-month period.

Last week, inflows, or runoff from the mountains, coming into Boise Reservoir System was just over 24,000 cfs. The fourth largest in the last 100 years.

"What's really been the game changer, no doubt about it, has been the February and March, and into April precipitation," Runyan said.

Currently in the Boise Reservoir System, Anderson Ranch is nearly at capacity, Arrowrock nearly 80% of capacity, and Lucky Peak about 60% of capacity. So there is still room in our reservoirs for mountain runoff.

However, water managers do have to prepare for the unexpected.

"We can see the snow, we can plan for snow. We can't predict the weather and it's the rain we're kind of scared about and we have to plan for the rain and the possible warmer temperatures," Lodge said.

Ada County officials reiterated warnings to stay away from the river and pay attention to Greenbelt closures and private property signs, noting that high flows and flooding have "created a very serious situation."

"We possibly have another 45-60 days of this event," county officials wrote in a release. "We want to keep you safe and need your cooperation to do that."

Information on sandbag availability and the latest flood updates is available here.

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