Twenty-eight counties in Idaho and more than $1.3 billion in crops are at risk of water shortages by mid-century, according to a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The report uses publicly available water use data across the United States and climate projections to gauge the nation's reusable water supply. Nationwide, more than 1,100 counties—a full one-third of all counties in the lower 48 states—now face higher risks of water shortages as the result of global warming.
Of Idaho's 28 at-risk counties, seven are reported to be high-risk, including Canyon, Cassia, Lincoln and Minidoka. Counties at moderate risk are Ada, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Twin Falls and six others. The value of all crops produced in Idaho's at-risk counties is estimated to total $1,337,237,000.
NRDC's report at http://www.nrdc.org/media/2010/100720.asp paints a sobering picture of warm temperatures further taxing aquifers already stressed by heavy use.