- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Irrigators in southwestern Idaho can look forward to normal water levels in 2016 as snowpack levels are well above normal and reservoirs are in good shape.

Pioneer Irrigation District Manager Mark Zirschky said unless the situation changes dramatically his district should see a normal water supply, The Capital Press reported (https://bit.ly/1Uqi2JP).

“Right now we have above-average snowpack, and the reservoirs are climbing 1 or 2 percent a day. We’re looking pretty good right now,” Zirschky said.

Reservoirs in the region ended with very little water and most didn’t have any carry over, leaving irrigators dependent on snowpack. That gamble worked out because snowpack levels in the Boise River basin were at 115 percent of normal March 24. The Payette River basin was 112 percent of normal, and the Weiser River basin was at 110 percent.

“It’s significantly better than it was last year,” Weiser River system watermaster Brandi Horton said. “Everywhere you look, the mountains are buried in snow. I’m feeling really good about this year.”

Last year the Weiser River system stopped delivering water at the end of August, months before the normal mid-October shut-off.

The Boise Basin snowpack was at 62 percent of normal this time last year compared with 115 percent of normal now, said Tim Page, manager of the Boise Project Board of Control.

“That’s quite a bit better than where we were last year at this time,” Page said. “My anticipation is that we will have a normal irrigation season. Things are looking promising.”

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Information from: The Capital Press (Ore.), https://www.capitalpress.com/washington

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