3733 Adams Rd Driggs, Idaho 83422

Idaho Water Conditions


Water levels for the summer should be great.

There is a bunch of snow to melt in the mountains.  Two Ocean pass, just outside Yellowstone Park, still has 95 inches of snow.

Take a look at the Bureau of Reclamation diagram of the water storage in our area. Click on the image to go to the BOR site for more info.  I placed a portion of an article from their website on the history of the bureau.  I thought it interesting.

There are going to be many happy trout this summer.


A Very Brief History

Inadequate precipitation in the American West required settlers to use irrigation for agriculture. At first, settlers simply diverted water from streams, but in many areas demand outstripped supply. As demand for water increased, settlers wanted to store “wasted” runoff from rains and snow for later use, thus maximizing use by making more water available in drier seasons. At that time, private and state-sponsored storage and irrigation ventures were pursued but often failed because of lack of money and/or lack of engineering skill.

Pressure mounted for the Federal Government to undertake storage and irrigation projects. Congress had already invested in America’s infrastructure through subsidies to roads, river navigation, harbors, canals, and railroads. Westerners wanted the Federal Government also to invest in irrigation projects in the West. The irrigation movement demonstrated its strength when pro-irrigation planks found their way into both Democratic and Republican platforms in 1900. Eastern and Midwestern opposition in the Congress quieted when Westerners filibustered and killed a bill containing rivers and harbors projects favored by opponents of Western irrigation. Congress passed the Reclamation Act of June17, 1902. The Act required that water users repay construction costs from which they received benefits.

In the jargon of that day, irrigation projects were known as “reclamation”projects. The concept was that irrigation would “reclaim” arid lands for human use. In addition, “homemaking” was a key argument for supporters of reclamation. Irrigation’s supporters believed reclamation programs would encourage Western settlement, making homes for Americans on family farms. President Theodore Roosevelt supported the reclamation movement because of his personal experience in the West, and because he believed in homemaking.

The heyday of Reclamation construction of water facilities occurred during the Depression and the thirty-five years after World War II. The last major authorization for construction projects occurred in the late 1960s while a parallel evolution and development of the American environmental movement began to result in strong opposition to water development projects. Even the 1976 failure of Teton Dam as it filled for the first time, did not diminish Reclamation’s strong international reputation in water development circles. However, this first and only failure of a major Reclamation dam did shake the bureau which subsequently strengthened its dam safety program to avoid similar problems in the future. However, the failure of Teton Dam, the environmental movement, and the announcement of the President Jimmy Carter’s “hit list” on water projects profoundly affected the direction of Reclamation’s programs and activities in the United States.

Reclamation operates about 180 projects in the 17 Western States. The total Reclamation investment for completed project facilities in September of 1992 was about$11.0 billion. Reclamation projects provide agricultural, household, and industrial water to about one-third of the population of the American West. About 5 percent of the land area of the West is irrigated, and Reclamation provides water to about one-fifth of that acreage (in1992, some 9,120,000 acres). Reclamation is a major American generator of electricity. In1993 Reclamation had 56 power plants on-line and generated 34.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

Between 1988 and 1994, Reclamation underwent major reorganization as construction on projects authorized in the 1960s and earlier drew to an end. Reclamation wrote that “The arid West essentially has been reclaimed. The major rivers have been harnessed and facilities are in place or are being completed to meet the most pressing current water demands and those of the immediate future.” Emphasis in Reclamation programs shifted from construction to operation and maintenance of existing facilities. Reclamation’s redefined official mission is to “manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public.” In redirecting its programs and responsibilities, Reclamation substantially reduced its staff levels and budgets but remains a significant Federal agency in the West.


Bureau of Reclamation 2009

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