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For the week of May 1 - 7, 2002

  News

Water woes continue

County reservoirs not much better off than last year


By PETER BOLTZ
Express Staff Writer

Blaine County is a little bit better off for water this year than last, but not by much.

As of Monday, the Magic Reservoir was 41 percent full. Lynn Harmon of the Big Wood Canal Co., which manages the reservoir, said he expected Magic to drop as low as it did last summer. Express photo by Willy Cook

Lynn Harmon of the Big Wood Canal Co., which manages Magic Reservoir, said Monday that the reservoir was at 79,881 acre feet.

Thatís about 42 percent of the reservoirís 191,500-acre-feet capacity

Harmon said the snowpack was good this year, "but unfortunately we have too great a deficit to make up. Usually, we have 50,000 to 60,000 acre feet of carry-over."

He said he was going to turn on the water for farmers on May 5, and turn it off about the same date as last year, July 1.

"It looks like last year all over again," he said. "Itís kind of another bleak year."

Lawrence Kimball, assistant water master of the Fish Creek Reservoir near Carey, said, "This yearís snows helped a lot, but now we could use a little rain."

The Fish Creek Reservoir, which holds 13,500 acre feet of water, was about 50 percent full on Friday, Kimball said.

Thatís about as much water as the reservoir filled at its highest on May 8, 2001.

"We still have snowpack to draw from," Kimball said. "The flow into the reservoir is about twice as much as it was this same time last year."

He said he started running water for shareholders last year on April 25. This year, he planned to hold out until today, May 1.

The water could last until mid-July, if farmers are "really conservative" with their water use, he said.

Bob Simpson, water master for the Little Wood Reservoir, also near Carey, is no more enthusiastic than Kimball nor Harmon.

He said Friday that the reservoir is at about 86 percent, or 26,000 acre feet, which is less than he had last year at this time.

The Little Wood Reservoir holds 30,000 acre feet of water.

"Thereís more snowpack upstream than last year," he said, but whether or not it will significantly increase the reservoirís acre feet is yet to be seen.

Last year, he said, he turned the water off on about Aug. 28.

 


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.