Low water wilts farmers hopes for a bumper crop

NAMPA, Idaho (KBOI) - The snow-capped Trinity Mountains form a stunning view from the front yard of Larry Christensen's farm south of Nampa, but all that frozen water serves a more important purpose, he needs it to make a living.

But he faces a water shortage this year. If we don't get some significant rainfall soon, Christensen could see his irrigation water cut by a third.

"If it doesn't increase, I'm going to be short and I'll probably be trying to starve the crop a little early so I have enough to finish it off, but it's a big concern right now for me," says Christiansen.

Without a doubt, summers here are dry. The Boise River and its three major reservoirs are vital to agriculture across the valley. But if the snow melts too quickly there will be too much water for the canals to handle.

So that water will flow out of the Treasure Valley and be long gone by the time farmers really need it come August. In the eyes of a farmer that's essentially hundreds of wasted dollars flowing off down to the Snake River.

But Christensen says there are a few things he can do.

"I can grow crops that take less water, but we pretty much have all our crops already decided so some of the land we might have to plant less acres of that crop and leave some land bare," says Christensen.

It's a crapshoot farmers face every year.

The water shortage could potentially lead to water restrictions in Treasure Valley cities by late summer. But it's too early to say for sure that this will happen.