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Water shortages predicted for much of Idaho

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BOISE (AP) — More than half of Idaho is in a severe drought, and an Idaho water expert says that’s likely to worsen in the coming months.

Idaho Department of Water Resources hydrologist David Hoekema told the Idaho Water Resource Board at a meeting last week that water shortages are expected in every basin in southern Idaho.

Hoekema said a wet fall and record-breaking snowfall in December has been followed by three months of little precipitation and a declining snowpack. Streamflow forecasts range from 20% to 70% below average.

“We’re far enough along that there’s very little chance of recovery,” Hoekema said.

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map shows the bottom two-thirds of the state in drought. About half of that is classified as severe drought.

Gary Spackman, director of the Idaho Department of Water Resources, said there will likely be water shortages for agriculture and curtailments because of below-normal water runoff.

He said he’s expecting “a tough water year.”

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