City of Nampa announces drought task force

Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 14:36:03-04

NAMPA, Idaho — The City of Nampa launched its first ever Drought Task Force this week.

This comes as Idahoans prepare for another year of drought conditions after a two-month dry period and a winter season that overall failed to recharge reservoirs.

“It'll take us a couple years to get out of this, so it's critically important that we start now before the irrigation season begins to get on top of where we're going to be with the water," Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling said.

The task force will investigate the city’s water distribution.

“For example, in the City of Nampa, how much is coming from which irrigation company? How much is coming from wells, and then what is the level of pressurization that we have to have in order to deliver the water," Kling explained.

This comes as spring runoff of snowpack starts early.

“As far as the snowpack goes, it’s peaked about a half-a-month early," said David Hoekema, hydrologist with the Idaho Dept. of Water Resources.

While those snowpack percentiles usually climb a bit longer into spring and peak the first week of April, Hoekema said its already there mid-March — and this year's snowpack wasn't abundant.

“We only achieved about 80% of normal snowpack, and that's on a statewide basis," Hoekema said. “What's really hurting us this year is we have really low reservoir content going into the melt off period, and so we're expecting a drought that's not the worst in the state but pretty low."

That's because this year, it's round two for Idahoans.

"Thankfully this year we know we're going into drought so hopefully people are preparing," Hoekema said.

Amid these challenging conditions, the City of Nampa is preparing.

“While the City of Nampa is really looking to see what we can do to maximize this precious resource, if we don't do it across the Treasure valley, if we all don't lean in and say 'I'm going to do my part,' then it won't be as effective," Kling said.