After what has been the fourth wettest February in Idaho since records have been kept, the water outlook for southern Idaho has gone from bleak to almost normal. Although irrigation companies start delivery of irrigation water to farmers in April, the New York Canal, and Indian Creek through Kuna, is flowing a bit earlier than normal according to locals.
Not so, says a press release from the Lucky Peak Power Plant Project (LPPP). Mike Kukla, the Project Administrator for the LPPP says that the traditional diversion of water begins the first week of March to fill Lake Lowell.
This has an impact on power production at Lucky Peak dam as well.
“During the non-irrigation season, the Boise River drops to minimum stream flows so our power output drops to about two megawatts. Our output will increase to about 18 megawatts next week as more water is released from Lucky Peak to fill Lake Lowell,” Kukla said.
The LPPP was built and is owned by the irrigation districts and the revenues from the sale of electricity and is used for operation and maintenance of the irrigation canal system.
When LPPP is up to full capacity, the plant has potential to generate 101 megawatts of power. Revenues from the sale of that electricity go to the irrigation districts that built and own LPPP and all revenue is used to pay for the operation and maintenance of the irrigation delivery system.
“The earlier start means we will begin putting power on to the grid earlier and able to generate revenues for the irrigation districts,” said Kukla.
“The good news for Treasure Valley residents is that these electricity revenues keep water costs down for farmers and for residential consumers that receive their irrigation water from one of the participating districts,” Kukla concluded.
Lucky Peak Power Plant is owned by the Boise-Kuna, Nampa & Meridian, Wilder, and Big Bend irrigation districts and operated by Seattle City Light.