ID’s water season off to slow start

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The Natural Resources Conservation Service just released the first water supply outlook report for the 2018 water year.

Precipitation since the water year started on Oct. 1, 2017, varies across the state with watersheds ranging from 70 to 130 percent of normal.

“September gave us a good start on snowpack, but December was pretty dry, with only a third of the normal precipitation across Idaho’s west-central and central mountains,” said Ron Abramovich, Water Supply Specialist with the Idaho Natural Resources Conservation Service. “The good news for water users is that last year’s high snowpacks and runoff primed the hydrologic system and has kept rivers and springs flowing above average well into this fall and early winter.”

This year, the highest snowpack is in the Upper Snake above Palisades Reservoir at 112 percent of normal. The lowest snowpacks are approximately 40 percent of normal in the Weiser and Owyhee basins. In the Panhandle, the snowpack is between 95 and 105 percent of normal.

“We’re not quite halfway through the season, and a lot could change.” Abramovich said. “La Nina conditions are present in the Pacific Ocean, and this typically means that there will be wetter conditions in the second half of the winter in the Pacific Northwest.”

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