BOISE, Idaho — On Friday, July 23 the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will start letting water out of the Lucky Peak Reservoir to fill the needs of irrigators who have water rights in the Treasure Valley.
This means that boaters have this weekend and next weekend to hit the water, but after that, it might be too shallow to get the boats in the water.
"Recreation shouldn’t be impacted too much on that first weekend as we start a slow draft," said Jonathan Roberts of the Army Corps of Engineers. "But after that, the draft will become really aggressive at Lucky Peak essentially after of July 24th and 25th."
Water managers have been forced into this position because Anderson Ranch and Arrowrock Reservoirs have dropped earlier than normal and it's part of a region-wide problem because of drought.
Several Idaho rivers are flowing at the lowest levels ever recorded this summer according to the U.S. Geological Survey some of those include the Salmon River, the Boise River and the Bruneau River and they all end up in the Snake River.
Record low streamflow for July 8 on the Salmon River at Salmon, #Idaho. Latest observed flow of 767 cfs is a quarter of the 105-year median for July 8: https://t.co/d2cGeI0Cvp. Note: gap in graph reflects temporary data transmission error. Data are still logged on site. pic.twitter.com/KHelFeYs6Q— USGS in Idaho (@USGS_Idaho) July 8, 2021
Record low streamflow for July 7 on the #Boise River near Parma, #Idaho. Latest observed flow of 283 cubic feet per second (cfs) is one third of the 44-year median flow. Water temperature about 7 degrees F warmer than last year. Real-time data: https://t.co/huE3Vu7q2x pic.twitter.com/AbB8J0oamz— USGS in Idaho (@USGS_Idaho) July 7, 2021
"Hells Canyon flows are at the absolute minimum except for very short periods of time to ensure that the power grid remains stable," said Roberts.
The Boise River Water Manager told us in normal years irrigators can expect water until mid-October but this year he expects the water to shut off a month earlier, but people can help out by conserving water this summer.
"I can’t emphasize enough conserving every way that you can especially in a drought year," said Rex Barrie, the Boise River Water Manager. "Anything you can do to conserve water the more we can stretch it out a little bit and get a few extra days."
The Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers and water managers work together to ensure recreational opportunities remain when possible, they didn't let out any flood control water this spring.
But they can't do anything about the snowpack we had last year, the dry spring and the excessive heat we are experiencing this summer and we've been following this all year.
"Really we just have to enjoy it while we can," said Kathy Crawford who was boating at Lucky Peak with some friends.