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News Release

Water Supply and Snowpacks Off to a Promising Start

Ron Abramovich, Water Supply Specialist
(208) 378-5741

For More Information:
Jeff Anderson, Hydrologist: 208.378.5740
Phil Morrisey, Hydrologist: 208.685.6983
Alexis Collins, Public Affairs: 208.685.6978

Snow covered trees in the Boise Basin.

BOISE, ID January 7, 2013 – The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conducted this season’s first snow survey at the end of December for the January water supply report which is now out. The report shows many of the state’s basins are starting the year with good soil moisture and snowpack conditions.

The water year began on October 1. November rainfall helped soil moisture recover from the dry summer. Precipitation since October ranges from 100 to 150% of normal.

The mountain snowpacks vary from 80% to 160% of normal using the new 30-year reference period to calculate the normal. “In 2013 we switched to a new period for calculating normal snowpacks,” said Ron Abramovich, Idaho NRCS Water Supply Specialist. “The new normals use the period from 1981 to 2010, which allows comparison to the most recent climatic norms.”

So far this year elevation is playing a critical role in where the snow falls and accumulates - the higher the mountains the better the snowpack. The snowpacks in the Lost River Range and the Pioneer Mountains have the highest snowpack percentages. The lowest snowpacks are in Idaho’s lower elevation watersheds, like the Weiser and Owyhee Basins.

According to the report, many Idaho reservoirs are near average with the exception of some in central and southern Idaho.

“There is some water in the bank,” Abramovich said. “Idaho’s reservoirs should be in good shape this year with some stored water and snow in the high country waiting to melt and fill them up.”

For more information about snowpack, precipitation, runoff, and water supplies for specific basins, please view the complete January 2013 Water Supply Outlook Report online at and click on the ‘Water Supply’ link.  

NRCS conducts snow surveys at the end of each month from December through May to make snow runoff predictions and water supply forecasts used in managing Idaho’s water resources.

For more information about snowpack, precipitation, runoff and water supplies for specific basins, please view the complete January 2013 Water Supply Outlook Report online at and click on the 'Water Supply' link.



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