Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016ID209B

Idaho Drought Planning

Institute: Idaho
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $14,908 Total Non-Federal Funds: $35,554

Principal Investigators: Mark Solomon

Abstract: Idaho is experiencing rapid growth that is transforming its economies and societies. This transformation is most easily seen, and most readily affected by the availability of a safe and reliable water supply throughout Idaho. Idaho’s water supply is no longer just seen as a resource able to grow crops and generate power. Now its water supply is seen as a vital resource for a wide range of economic activities that not only include irrigated agriculture and hydropower production, but also supports water based recreation, fishing, growing municipal populations, new light industries and the simple aesthetic value that people place on viewing a healthy body of water. All of these uses and interests are in peril if long-term drought (>3 years) asserts itself in Idaho, a probability raised significantly by global climate change. A small sample of what may be in store for the state became clearly evident during the 2015 water year: historical low flows, reduced crop yields, and widespread large-scale wildfire. Planning for drought in Idaho is a necessity, a process that IWRRI is strategically positioned to lead.