More Than Half of Idaho Under Drought Declaration
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)-All of southern Idaho is under an emergency drought declaration issued Friday by Idaho water managers and the governor. The Idaho Department of Water Resources Director Gary Spackman issued the emergency drought declaration for 34 counties south of the Salmon River, essentially more than half the state. The declaration was approved by Gov. Brad Little making it effective as of Friday, April 28. "An emergency drought declaration provides a powerful tool for agricultural water users to cope with drought by allowing temporary water right changes for the remainder of the year. An emergency drought declaration may also help with eligibility requirements for federal drought assistance," said the department in the announcement. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor Map, all the counties in the impacted area are in moderate to severe drought, most are already in severe drought. According to IDWR, nearly a dozen county commissioners had asked the department to issue the declaration. This comes as many reservoirs, snow back, and streamflow conditions are well below average for this time of year. "Specifically, total cumulative snow water equivalent (SWE) levels in these basins as of April 1, 2022, ranged from 50 to 78 percent of median. The April-to-September streamflow forecasts for most locations south of the Salmon River are between 25 and 75 percent of median. As of April 1, 2022, water storage in most reservoirs serving the southern half of Idaho were between 20 to 65 percent of capacity, increasing the chances that many reservoirs will not fill," according to IDWR. For more information on changes to water rights go to the Drought Declaration Webpage.