The Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) issued an emergency drought declaration for all 34 counties south of the Salmon River. The declaration was approved by Gov. Brad Little on Friday, making it effective immediately.
IDWR Director Gary Spackman said the U.S. Drought Monitor Map shows all 34 counties south of the Salmon River are in moderate to severe drought.
These counties are experiencing below-normal snowpack conditions and low water supply, according to officials. According to a news release, most reservoirs in southern Idaho were between 20 to 65% of capacity as of April 1, 2022. Snow water equivalent levels ranged from 50 to 48% of the median.
With Little's approval, IDWR is now authorized to consider applications for existing water rights, and temporary exchanges of water rights. They are also authorized to consider temporary changes in the point of diversion.
If water users want to file an application for a temporary change in water right, they should follow IDWR guidelines.