Idaho reservoirs brimming but what about six months from now?

Southern Idaho reservoirs are heading into the winter with more water than average, but Paul Deveau doesn't want you to read too much into it.

The manager of the Boise Board of Control, which provides irrigation water to 164,000 acres through five irrigation districts across the Treasure Valley, worries that the relatively good news suggests farmers will have all they need next year. But U.S. Weather Service forecasters are already predicting a dry winter.

Even with below-average snowfall, river managers have a good chance to fill the reservoirs with next spring's runoff. But Deveau said that doesn't take him - and the people whose lives depend on how he manages his irrigation system - off the hook.

"It's still not good enough," Deveau said. "We have to have a steady snow melt. If it melts too quickly we go into flood control and we lose it."

Half-filled reservoirs in the fall are good news for Idaho Power Co., too, because they portend improved river flows through the company's hydroelectric plants up and down the Snake River. The utility expects to generate between 8 million and 8.5 million megawatt hours of electricity from its dams in 2009, compared to 6.9 million in 2008.

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