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Measuring Water Levels in Idaho

Water Levels

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The water levels in 1,300 Idaho wells will be measured in the next two weeks.

Every five years the U.S Geological Survey and the Idaho Department of Water Resources work together to understand more about the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.

Lyle Swank, water master for Water District 1 in Idaho Falls, says taking measurements in the spring is the best time since irrigation season hasn't started yet.

District 1 workers will take measurements at wells from Fremont County to Bannock County.

Swank says understanding the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer is important to a lot of people. With an estimated volume of 200 billion cubic feet, it's the main source of drinking water and also irrigation to 1 million acres of farmland.

"That's where most our water comes from, and so you want to be able to understand how much it's declining or improving in some years when you get a good snowpack or rainfall season," said Swank.

Swank says November and December were a good start to the snowpack season, but January through March dropped below average.

"So you want to try to understand both the interconnection with the river and the groundwater rainfall diversions all the different components that go into establishing whether the groundwater table is going up or down at different locations and different times of the year," said Swank.

Swank says getting precipitation this spring is good to help try and stabilize water supply.

The Idaho Department of Water Resources says private wells are valuable sources for the study, and encourage those owners to grant workers access to the wells.

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