Friday, February 15, 2008

Magic Reservoir remains low


By JASON KAUFFMAN
Express Staff Writer

This photo taken last week at Magic Reservoir south of Bellevue shows just how low the body of water is. Idaho hydrologists say it may take several years of plentiful snowfall to correct the damage that?s been done by the continuing drought the region is suffering. Photo by Willy Cook

Ahead of the coming summer water season, water levels at Magic Reservoir south of Bellevue remain far below average.

Earlier this month, Steve Burrell, a hydrologist with the Idaho Department of Water Resources, said Magic Reservoir was below 20 percent of its capacity.

Burrell said that while deepening snowpacks this winter are encouraging, they won't on their own end the drought Idaho has been suffering since fall 1999. He said it would take several years of good snowpacks before hydrologists to declare an end to the drought.

"Two years at least," he said.

Still, Burrell said that if current heavy precipitation trends continue through March, things could turn out positively for local irrigators this summer.

"We may fill Magic Reservoir, but I wouldn't want to place any bets on that," he said.

While the recent bit of warm weather has reduced local snowpacks somewhat, the snowpack in the local Big Wood Basin, which includes all of the upper Big Wood River drainage as well as Camas Creek near Fairfield, remains above average.

According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Big Wood Basin was at 111 percent of normal on Thursday. The basin snowpack was at 80 percent of its season peak Tuesday.




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