BOISE -- Farmers across the valley are preparing for a major hit to their crops.

Irrigation districts have announced that they are turning off the water supply earlier than normal this year.

The dry conditions this spring and summer have left water storage levels much lower.


The irrigation season usually starts in the beginning of April and end in the beginning to the middle of October.

But, several irrigation districts say homeowners and farmers could be without water as early as September 1st, about a month and a half early.

Tim Page is the project manager for the Boise Board of Control, which oversees five districts.

We're thinking we will probably make it somewhere around the first of September, we're just playing it by ear right now, said Page.

He says right now water storage levels are about a third of normal.

This year we just really haven't really had a whole lot to improve things so we have been running on what water we have, said Page.

Page says they are monitoring the situation closely, and want everyone to be as conservative with their water as possible.

Everybody knows to be as conservative as they can but they do know the farmers and landowners out there trying to grow crops they got to have enough water to finish that crop off, said Page.


Farmers in the area say they are dependent on the water supply and concerned about an early turn off.

Janie Burns owns Meadowlark Farms in Nampa. She raises sheep and chickens, who need well watered grass.

She has been preparing all summer for the day when the water will be shut off.

We've been thinning out the flock so there are not as many sheep on the land, in September and October, and we are also monitoring irrigation so we can use the very last drop of water, said Burns.

And says if the water is shut off early, it will cost her more money.

I'll have to buy extra hay, and if everyone is in high demand then that price of hay might go up, said Burns.

Burns says it's a big concern affecting all farmers, especially those growing long season crops.

And she worries about the water supply next year as well.

It's the basis for what we do, without irrigation, we can't have agriculture in the valley, said Burns.


Most districts have not yet set an exact date for the end of the season.

But, we talked with Settlers Irrigation District which also expects to shut off irrigation around September first.

The largest district in our area, Nampa-Meridian says they are planning to end the season around the first week of September.

The Boise Board of Control has a meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning to discuss the situation.

The city of Meridian held a meeting on Tuesday on the topic and is working to get in touch with their districts to figure out exactly when their turn off date will be.

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