Federal hydrologists still say some areas of Idaho should brace for water shortages this year, unless the state sees a drastic change in winter weather.
The newest monthly report by the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service singles out the Owyhee, Salmon Falls and Oakley river basins south of the Snake River as areas of particular concern. NRCS uses current snowpack measurements and long-term weather forecasts to estimate spring and summer streamflows and reservoir storage.
Even in Eastern Idaho's Upper Snake Basin, the home of key reservoirs for the Snake River, the agency warns that near normal snowpacks may not be enough for all of the river's users.
One bit of comfort: As bad as Idaho's snowpacks are, those in neighboring states are even worse, according to the report.
In Southwest Idaho, NRCS says snowpacks in the Boise and Payette basins are at their lowest points since 2001. The Weiser basin's snowpack is at its lowest since 1982, when its records began.
"Boise River water users should brace for shortages, unless the weather pattern changes and the mountains receive abundant snowfall between now and April or the spring is extremely wet," the report states.
Follow this link to read the full report online.