Less water expected in the Boise River this year

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Snowpack is dwindling in some key areas across Idaho, which is going to leave us with less water in the dry season than we've seen in the past few years. The Boise river is especially important.

Almost all the water we use for agriculture in the Treasure Valley is diverted from the Boise river. Further upstream the water is stored, in a massive series of reservoirs like Arrowrock and Lucky Peak.

Right now Lucky Peak Reservoir is less than half full. That will change as the snow in the mountains continues to melt through the spring. It will slowly re-fill and forecasters are anticipating enough to get us through the summer season.

This is because the last few years have been so wet, allowing water managers to hold water over from year to year. This means that last year's water can be used to take the bite out of this year's drought.

But that is not the case for some of our favorite recreational rivers to the south, they are hurting.

"There are going to be some challenges along the Owyhee River this spring. It is going to be a short season. The Bruneau may have an extremely short season depending on the spring precipitation," says Ron Abramovich, a water supply specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Payette river is another hot spot for rafting, and it's watershed is wet enough for a nice long season.

The last few years have been so wet that Boise's greenbelt has spent much of May and June underwater. One nice thing about the dry winter, that shouldn't be a problem this year.

"It looks like we should be able to handle any runoff that we have across the area and not see a repeat of what we saw last year along the Boise River," says Troy Lindquist, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.