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2022 Farm Drought worries

By: Jake Putnam
Published in Video on  November 09, 2021

Star--Idaho farmers just finished the 2021 harvest, despite heat and drought conditions many hit the finish line dry.

Irrigation water in many parts of the state were cut off the last two weeks of the season. Watermaster Rex Barrie from District 63 in Star:

"We did have water, unfortunately, we didn't have enough," said Barrie.

It was a season more than 21 water days short:

"And so our yields suffered, I know our onion yields suffered significantly and sugar beets a little bit," said this Canyon County farmer. That's farmer Sid Freeman, he says the 21 season was a first for him:

"I've lived out there for 50 years and I don't remember a situation where they ever told us in an average year, the water will get us through the end of August only," said Freeman.

"It's forced us to be better irrigators and hopefully it will pay off in the end."

By cutting off the water early, Water masters are keeping holdover water in the reservoir for next season. But Idaho’s water situation is precarious: Forecasts call for a La Nina year, with above-normal temps and precipitation…Farmers and water masters want snowpack:

"We are in desperate need of an above-normal snowpack to get that system back to normal. So what do we need? We need an over 100-percent normal snowpack. Currently, as of today, we are at 28 percent of capacity," said Barrie.

Forecasts call for a La Nina year with above normal temperatures and precipitation but farmers and watermasters want snowpack.

"At the start of the new water year, we'd like to see reservoirs at the mid 30 percent capacity range. That way if we get an average winter we could fill the system," said Barrie.

As the sun sets on Lucky Peak, Watermasters hope and worry, hope for snow, worry for rain.

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