Monday, May 03, 2010

County Declared in Drought (We saw this coming)

County declared in drought

Idaho Mountain Express
April 30, 2010

Blaine County is officially experiencing a drought emergency, according to a declaration approved by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Gary Spackman, interim director of the Idaho Department of Water Resources.

The drought declaration authorizes Spackman to make temporary changes to water rights, including diversion of water and restricting place of use and the purpose of use.

"Temporary changes shall only be approved for the purpose of providing a replacement water supply to lands or other uses that normally have a full water supply," the declaration reads.

These changes cannot be done to provide water for new development.

Blaine County was one of five that have received the drought declaration so far. "Significant" drought conditions due to below-normal precipitation and snowpack levels are occurring throughout central and eastern Idaho.

As of April 1, the Big Wood and Little Wood River drainages had respective snowpack levels of 69 percent and 68 percent of normal.

The Department of Water Resources has forecast April-through-July streamflow volumes for the Big Wood River above Magic Reservoir to be only 38 percent of average. The Little Wood River near Carey is predicted to have 46 percent of its average volume.

Blaine's two adjacent neighbors to the north and east, Custer and Butte counties, have also been issued drought declarations. The three river drainages in that area are averaging 63 percent of normal snowpack. Summer river volumes are expected to be 47 percent of normal in the Big Lost River drainage, 61 percent in the Little Lost River drainage and 52 percent in the Salmon River drainage.

The eastern Idaho counties of Teton and Fremont are also officially experiencing drought. Snowpack and precipitation levels in the Henry Fork and Teton river basins is only 61 percent of normal. Summer river volumes there are forecast to be a little more than 50 percent of average.

Those five counties are it for Idaho, so far.

Trevon Milliard:

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