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Economic and dam related articles

Eastern Idaho Reservoirs Full,
First Time in Years

by Greg Stahl, Express Staff Writer
Idaho Mountain Express - June 15, 2005

MACKAY -- reservoirs in eastern and east-central Idaho are finally overflowing, bringing optimism to farmers who have endured more than five years of drought.

At the end of May, water was spilling trhough the gates of Mackay Reservoir, 75 miles west of Idaho Falls; pouring a silver stream into the Big Lost River, which in wet years may flow through Arco.

Farmers believe they'll have enough water to meet their needs this year.

"It's a good thing," said Bob Duke, the region's water master. "All the rain has made a world of difference."

The Mackay Reservoir officially filled on May 24. By the end of the month, the area had 3.18 inches of rain three times the normal amount, according to the National Weather Service.

Besides a full reservoir, much of the snowpack on nearby mountains remains in reserve to feed even more water into the Big Lost River as the summer wears on.

The upbeat mood about Idaho's water situation extends beyond the Big Lost River valley to much of southern Idaho.

In March, statewide water officals were hoping the reservoirs in the Upper Snake River Basin would be 60 percent full, said Michael Keckler, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Water Resource.

Palisades reservoir has about three times as much water as last year. Ririe Reservoir has 60,000 acre feet of water compared with 45,000 acre feet in 2004. Island Park is entirely full.

In all, the Upper Snake River Basin's reservoir levels are an average of 83 percent full.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted anything like this," Keckler said.

Related Pages:
Idaho Faces 'Dismal Water Supply Outlook' by Greg Stahl, Idaho Mountain Express, 4/13/5

Eastern Idaho Reservoirs Full, First Time in Years
Idaho Mountain Express - June 15, 2005

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