Drought Troubles For White Water Rafting


By Stephanie Mead

Hagerman, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) The hot dry spring and summer could take its toll on businesses that rely on water, such as whitewater rafting.

A shortage of water could cause the season to either run short or not at all.

Summer is all about sun, but water is a key factor for most, if not all, summer activities.

White water rafting heavily relies on water levels, and when there is little rain, it makes the activity difficult to do.

"When it's low water, which we've been having so far in the drought, it becomes more technical in that rocks are exposed more maneuvering, moving around obstacles," explains Dennis Pettygrove, River Rat.

Water levels are measured by cubic feet per second.

The Hagerman stretch of the Snake River usually runs at 5 to 6 thousand cubic feet per second.

Recently it’s only been 4,200 cubic feet per second.

"Right now, it’s pretty extreme drought. Earlier this week, when I checked the river flow here at the Hagerman on the Snake, it was the lowest I had ever seen," Pettygrove says.

The river is controlled by reservoirs, which makes the water levels change regularly.

Todd Ballard, an avid white water rafter, thinks that since the Magic Valley hasn't seen a lot of rainfall, it will affect white water rafting season.

"It probably will later on more then it is right now," Ballard says.

Although the low water levels are great for beginners, with the little amount of rain the southern Idaho has seen, Pettygrove worries that the season might be short.

"Being in a drought like we are, river levels are generally low because as I said earlier, they’re more technical, some dry up and you can’t use them at all... the river starts getting too low to run so it often shortens the season," he says.

Levels are still low along the Snake River for rafting, but you can head over to idahopower.com to monitor water levels throughout the summer.

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