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Greater Water Draw-down Predicted

Jackson Lake Dam

The forecast runoff for the Snake River in Wyoming is below normal, and close to the 2012 condition.  Water Operations Manager Mike Beus of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Minidoka Project says the storage in downstream reservoirs is significantly less than last year which may result in a much greater draw on Jackson Lake through the summer season ahead. Bues says the Bureau wants to plan as carefully as possible and only move water out of Jackson Lake that is necessary to fulfill the downstream needs.  However, he points out that with Palisades and American Falls Reservoirs being drafted heavily by a long, hot summer last year, it is pretty certain that more will be required to be removed from Jackson Lake than last year – but he quickly adds “we don’t want to go any lower than we have to.” As of last week, Jackson Lake was 77 percent filled compared with 86 percent at this time in 2012, and Beus says Palisades Reservoir is only 46 percent full, and was at 71 percent of capacity this time last year. Bues points out that it would take some pretty dramatic weather to get close to filling Palisades now. He says until spring run-off is at its end, Jackson will not be topped off for the sale of potential flood control At the same time, Beus says the snowmelt has been slower this year than it was in 2012 and the irrigation season in Southern Idaho is beginning more slowly as well so draw-down should begin later too.

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