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Reservoirs experiencing stress due to prolonged drought

The hardest hit is the Magic Reservoir, closed to the public on June 10. after reporting just 4% of its water capacity
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 8:52 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — If you’ve been out fishing this summer, things may have been a bit tough.

“Yeah it’s definitely been a little tougher than usual, but I’m trying to stay optimistic,” said local fisher Magda Moreno.

Local reservoirs have had a tough time staying full with prolonged drought conditions. However, some haven’t been hit as hard as others.

The hardest hit is the Magic Reservoir, closed to the public on June 10. after reporting just 4% of its water capacity.

Other reservoirs around southern Idaho have varied. One particularly hit hard is the Little Wood Reservoir, reading just 9% of its full capacity as of July 20. Locations out east are doing better, due in part to natural conditions.

“East of American Falls, we’re seeing better base flow,” says Brian Stevens of the Department of Reclamation. “With that said, soil moisture is quite poor just about everywhere.”

Stevens says another reason eastern Idaho Reservoirs are currently seeing higher water levels is to help larger reservoirs downstream later into the late summer and fall.

“We’re keeping levels higher upstream toward Island Park and Ririe to discharge them into the larger American Falls,” says Stevens. “We’ve had reports of dissolved oxygen in American Falls, so replacing some of that water, later on, helps with water quality, as well as keeping a more efficient irrigation system for much of southern and eastern Idaho.”

Despite their plans, Stevens says their outlook for the late summer and early fall months doesn’t look promising.

“I’d say it looks pretty grim for the reservoirs along the Snake River,’ says Stevens.

A map of current reservoir levels can be found here.

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