Idaho Grain Farmers Warned of Depleting Irrigation Resources


It's tradition that once Idaho's small grain growers complete their mid-summer harvests, they irrigate the remaining stubble to help break the residue down more quickly, thus benefiting the following crop.

But this summer's drought conditions are leaving the parched stubble on thousands of acres throughout the Magic Valley.

This morning's Twin Falls Times-News reports that the Twin Falls Canal Company cut irrigation supplies by 20 percent in June when it began tapping its storage reservoirs to meet an increased demand.

"We're conserving all we can and hope to make it through the season," TFCC manager Brian Olmstead told the Times-News.

Irrigators are being cautioned that a full supply of water might mean that Magic Valley's two dominant storage reservoirs, in American Falls and Palisades, would likely end the season with only 5 percent capacity.

Meanwhile, in south central Idaho, farmers were told in early July that reserves at the Magic Reservoir were already at 2.5 percent of capacity.

"It's exhausted," Carl Pendleton, board chair of the Big Wood Canal Company, told the Mountain Express. "It's disturbing, but it's Mother Nature."