Rain offers drought relief, but not enough

NWS Hydrologist Troy Lindquist
Posted at 5:41 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 19:54:35-04

BOISE — In 2021, southern Idaho faced record dryness in the spring and extreme heat in the summer, putting stress on the water supply systems we rely on.

This year, after a strong December for moisture, January and February were dry.

“We had record dryness in February across much of southern Idaho, so snowpack numbers really fell behind, dropped, compared to where they were early January,” National Weather Service Hydrologist Troy Lindquist explained.

Earlier this week, it rained and snowed in southern Idaho, the result of a substantial system from the pacific ocean that rolled through our region.

But in this case, when it rains, it doesn’t pour. Water managers remain concerned about the lack of precipitation this season.

Because he coordinates with water managers locally, Lindquist’s job is to track spring weather patterns and resulting snowpack to help monitor the drought.

“There's a lot of water content in there [Idaho’s snowpack] and that's what fills our reservoir systems so we can save some water and use it during the very warm and dry summer months,” Lindquist said.

Those stockpiles of water keep stream levels healthy and irrigation systems running smoothly when we most need them. But because of the lack of moisture hitting the region this winter and early spring, the reservoirs have yet to be replenished.

“This system again was nice to get that moisture, to see something other than dry conditions, but we really need a lot more to secure a good water supply and get us out of the drought,” Lindquist said.