irrigation (copy)

A wheel line irrigates a wheat field near Hazelton.

About a quarter of Idaho is experiencing some degree of drought, with one pocket in the south-central part of the state in extreme drought.

The area in extreme drought is in the Pioneer Mountains, which straddles Blaine County and Custer County, Boise State Public Radio reported Monday during a water supply meeting.

“This is an ongoing, long-term drought that started back in the fall of 2019, and we just haven’t seen any kind of recovery there yet,” David Hoekema, a hydrologist for the Idaho Department of Water Resources, said Friday.

About 40 percent of the American West is experiencing extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The part of Idaho in extreme drought means there is a high likelihood that there will be water shortages for some agricultural producers in the area, the outlet reported.

Outside of that area, snowpack is better than expected, especially in northern Idaho where basins are near or slightly above normal levels. That means most of Idaho’s reservoirs are expected to fill.

But in south-central Idaho, snowpack is at about 60 to 70 percent of normal levels.

Blaine County requested a drought declaration last week, which Republican Gov. Brad Little must approve. Six south-central Idaho counties had sought a drought declaration last year, but those requests occurred later in the spring.