Eye On Boise

What a difference 60 days makes: From 'poor' irrigation season to 'normal'

In just 60 days, southwestern Idaho has gone from what looked to be a "poor" irrigation season, with much lower levels of water available than normal, to a "normal" water season with full irrigation allotments and flows. "It is amazing how quick things can turn around," said Tim Page, project manager for the Boise Project Board of Control, which oversees five area irrigation districts. That was thanks to the big late-season snowfall in the high country that extended the season and built snowpacks up from subpar levels to healthy ones; click below for the Boise Project Board of Control's full irrigation season announcement. It includes this news: Starting April 9, the project will begin filling more than 460 canals and laterals in Ada and Canyon counties, meaning it's time to caution kids not to play in dangerous canals. 

March precipitation amounts ranged from 103% to 190% of normal, according to the Idaho Natural Resources Conservation Service. “The water year started with four dry months from October to January,” said Ron Abramovich, water supply specialist with the Idaho NRCS. “The water supply made an amazing recovery due to the February and March precipitation.” However, he noted that some areas of the state still face water shortages, including the Big Wood, Big Lost, Little Lost, Oakley, Owyhee, and Salmon Falls basins.




Tim Page, Project Manager

Boise Project Board of Control


2465 Overland Road • Boise, ID 83705



Boise Project: 60 Days Turns Poor Irrigation Season into a Normal One


April 7, 2014 (Boise, Idaho) – Just two months ago, during the first week of February, the Boise Project Board of Control (BPBOC) put out a press release announcing a much lower than normal expected delivery of water to the five irrigation districts that make up the Project. Now it appears that Mother Nature has dramatically changed this year’s water season in just 60 short days.


“It is amazing how quick things can turn around from a poor projected irrigation season to a fairly good and/or normal irrigation season in such a short period of time,” said Boise Project Manager, Tim Page. “We are now projecting the irrigation season could be a normal and/or near normal season due to the precipitation that has moved through the state in the last two months.”


Page says recent data shows Boise Project and others could be running on river flow (not using storage water) for the next month and a half or longer depending on the rest of April and May temperatures.


He said it is also very likely the allotment, when set, will be close to 2 ft. per acre. If the reservoir system fills the allotment for the Boise Project patrons could be as much as 2 ¼ ft. to 2 ½ ft. per acre. This has changed from a week to a week and a half ago when the Project was predicting somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 ½ ft. per acre and/or a little more, and from two months ago when projections were at ¾ ft. per acre.


During the next several weeks, beginning April 9th, the Project will activate over 460 canals and laterals in Ada and Canyon Counties. Irrigation delivery will begin as soon as canals have risen to allowable elevations.


Page also mentioned that this is a good time to remind parents and children of the approaching hazards of water in the irrigation canals. The Project serves nearly 167,000 acres of both farmland and residential properties in the two counties.



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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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