Wood River Valley Farmers Brace for Drought
Picabo, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) - Farmers in Blaine County rely heavily on the water run-off from the snow pack in the north. This year, snow pack is low, and Blaine County has declared a drought emergency with the Idaho Governor and Department of Water Resources. Drought emergencies are intended to be declared in unusual circumstances, warranting farmers to use water a little differently than normal. Nick Purdy, a 3rd generation farmer in Picabo
“With this declaration, and thanks to the county commissioners for doing it, we can transfer water from one farm to another without going through a month long process with the IDWR. And then when we’re haying or cutting grain, and we don’t need the water on that particular farm, we can transfer it off to another farm,” said. The Purdy family first came to Picabo when they were building the railroad that came into town.
They’ve been ranching and farming in this area on Silver Creek, since 1883. They hold the second oldest water right, the oldest being established in 1881. These original water rights were once thought of as good as gold. Even these properties are now threatened by the drought.