Idaho on pace to set aquifer recharge record during 2017–18 season

Photo: Storage water is recharged this fall into New Sweden Irrigation District’s reservoir. Through the first part of December, the Idaho Department of Water Resources is on pace to recharge a record amount of water into the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer in Southern Idaho. COURTESY IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES

The Idaho Water Resource Board recharged a record amount of water into the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer during the 2016–2017 recharge season and is on pace to break that record during the current season. Wesley Hipke, who runs the board’s managed aquifer recharge program, said 317,000 acre-feet of water was recharged into the ESPA during the 2016–17 season, which ran from October to July.

By comparison, a total of 75,000 acre-feet of water was recharged into the ESPA during the 2014–15 season, which was the first time the board was able to conduct recharge throughout the winter. A total of 66,218 acre-feet of recharge occurred during the 2015–16 season. The 2016–17 total, which doesn’t include incidental recharge, almost doubled the previous record of 166,338 acre-feet, which was set during the 2011–12 season.

As of Dec. 11, the state program had recharged 175,000 acre-feet of water into the ESPA during the 2017–18 season, which began […]

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