BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho water managers say they will step up funding for a cloud seeding program that's already been credited with increasing the state's mountain snowpack.

The Capital Press reports that the Idaho Power Co. program releases silver iodine into the atmosphere, which helps ice form in the clouds and increases precipitation.

The cloud seeding began in 2003. Idaho Power estimates that the extra snowpack creates an average of 800,000 acre-feet of water, roughly the volume of the American Falls Reservoir. It generates enough hydro-power to supply 17,000 homes.

Idaho Power engineering leader Jon Bowling says irrigation organizations, the Idaho Water Resource Board and Idaho Power will each shoulder about a third of the project's cost. He says the collaborative funding prevents customers from having to bear the full cost themselves.