Areas of southern Idaho, US, are on course to suffer severe water shortages during the 2004 irrigation season, according to projections from the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR).
In spite of a range of mitigation measures currently being implemented at the Upper Snake river reservoir system, which supplies irrigation water to the region, reserves will only stand at 36% of the system capacity by 1 April 2004, the IDWR has warned.
The predictions closely follow reports of the lowest levels of storage water in the Upper Snake system since records began. On 11 October, the eight-reservoir system was only filled to 9% of its total capacity, said the IDWR.
Almost 50% of the 2003 carryover is now contained in Henrys Lake, Idaho, and Jackson Lake, Wyoming, with the other half distributed amongst the rest of the system.
In an attempt to alleviate the situation, outflows have been stopped at Island Park, Grassy Lake, Ririe and Henrys Lake reservoirs, and reduced at American Falls.
‘Long-range weather projections for the coming winter are not optimistic for any type of above average snowfall totals,’ said the IDWR.
This will cause particular concern for the region as it is completely dependent on winter snow for its irrigation water supplies.