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As reservoirs fill, more water is released

“If you don’t like the weather here, just wait five minutes,” says an Idaho proverb. As it turns out, the weeks of waiting changed the water forecast for both the Boise and Payette river systems.
“We filled Lucky Peak and Arrowrock (reservoirs); we began active flood protection (operations) at 8 a.m. today,” District 63 Water Division Chief Mike Meyers said June 13. Water District 63 receives guidance from the Idaho Department of Water Resources. Flood control operations refer to the release of water from reservoirs to prevent flooding downstream.
“That’s mostly because there was a lot of rain over the weekend, which I’m sure everyone went through,” Meyers said. “It rained on top of the little snow we left there, it sort of melted” to fill Lucky Peak and Arrowrock (but not Anderson Ranch), he said.
As previously reported, back in late May, the Lucky Peak reservoir was expected to be 70-75% full, causing some boat ramps to run aground. At the time, officials predicted that rainfall from a wet and cold spring would lengthen the time Lucky Peak would remain at its highest point before sinking due to irrigation needs. According to a press release from the US Army Corps of Engineers, additional rainfall over the past three weeks has effectively brought the reservoir closer to full capacity, with plans to keep water levels in Lucky Peak through the end of July.
Boise Airport received 0.81 inches of rain as of 7 p.m. Sunday, with more than an inch falling in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.
Last week, the US Army Corps of Engineers planned to increase traffic on Lucky Peak, according to the report. Meyers said the increased flow of the Boise River would help move salmon into the ocean.
Meyers estimated that with the influx of rain over the weekend, the reservoir would continue flood control operations for five to seven days before any additional “boost” or release of water from the reservoir is made, he said. The rate of water release will depend in part on weather conditions in the coming weeks, he said.
Meyers said he has heard criticism that the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation are wasting water because of this type of management.
“I want to reassure the public that the Corps and the Bureau are very good at what they do,” Meyers said. “I can assure everyone that the actions being taken are in the interests of water users and Treasure Valley. And I can also assure you that the water will not be wasted,” he said, adding that water levels are being monitored. save tanks “Collect as much water as possible for as long as possible”.
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy a “normal” water year at Lucky Peak, with the boat ramp completely submerged, according to Meyers. He predicted that the drawdown would begin at the end of July.
The weather also points to a normal irrigation season, with water supplies continuing until September, Meyers said, although he stressed that where and when the water would be delivered would be at the discretion of irrigation districts and canal companies.
Meyers also addressed the confusion that the state could still be considered in the midst of a drought despite recent rainy weather.
“Usually we don’t get out of a drought in a year,” he said. “We’re going to have three years of pretty dry weather, and just because we’ve had a couple of pretty big storms doesn’t mean we’re out of the drought.” in recent weeks, the Valley and surrounding areas have not received as much rain as Treasures.
Conservation by water users remains a key factor, he said. He said it was a rainy winter and hoped the state would fully recover from the drought.
Ryan Headrick, director of reclamation at Middle Snake Water, said flood protection work began last week at the Cascade Reservoir, which officials predict will be full. When water needs to be released earlier than is needed for irrigation, Headrick says, it’s called “flood risk management.”
“We predicted that when the snow cover became much less, we began to worry that we would not be able to fill the reservoir, and then this spring a new situation arose for us,” he said.
Overall, it was a “very unusual” spring as cooler weather brought less snow than usual, but still managed to fill the reservoirs, he said.
Headrick predicts that Cascade will begin to reduce transaction volumes in July or August, which is an extension of the mid-June period predicted in May.

Post time: Nov-23-2022