Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Wood River Valley’s Water the Focus of Virtual Talks
A US Geological Service hydrographer measures the streamflow of the Big Wood River’s Hailey streamgage in February.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021


With Idaho and the rest of the West in the throes of severe to extreme drought, the Hailey public library is hosting a series of virtual talks examining the Wood River Valley’s above-and-below groundwater.

Dr. Jim Bartolino, U.S. Geological Survey groundwater specialist for Idaho, will kick it off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 10. He will speak on “The Wood river Valley Aquifer—What It Is, What We Know About It and How It Responds to Climate.

To see it, RSVP to Kristin.fletcher@haileypubliclibrary.org

Water is front and center this year with the Idaho Department of Water Resources declaring drought emergencies for eight Idaho counties, including Blaine County.

“In a summer of extreme drought like this one, Idaho’s long-standing laws determine who gets how much water when, and for how long,” said the library’s programs manager Kristin Fletcher.  “This ‘first in time is first in right’ doctrine can impact our lawns, gardens, water coming out of the tap, small organic farmers and large agricultural ranchers--in short, our friends, neighbors and communities.

“This series is intended to help newcomers and longtime residents better understand how this complex and vital process works,” she added. “Dr. Bartolino’s talk will focus on our aquifer from which a large portion of the water we use every day is drawn.”


Bartolino received his Ph.D. in geology and civil engineering from Texas Tech in Lubbock. He has been a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey since 1991 in Austin, Albuquerque and  Boise.  Currently he is a project chief and groundwater specialist for the Idaho Water Science Center where he creates a hydrogeologic framework and groundwater-flow model of the Treasure Valley and assists with a hydrogeologic framework of the Big Lost River Valley.


He has worked on other groundwater characterization studies, including the Wood River Valley of Idaho; the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie aquifer of Idaho and Washington; the East Mountain area of New Mexico; the Middle Rio Grande Basin of New Mexico, and areas of Iraq and Ethiopia. He has about 80 scientific publications and currently lives in Bellevue with his wife and three Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.


The “Our Water” series will continue on Thursday, June 17h, with a talk by Kevin Lakey, watermaster for Water District No. 37, which encompasses the area from Hagerman along the Snake River to the North Fork of the Big Wood River north of Ketchum. Lakey’s job is to oversee the allotment of water and ensure that Idaho’s water laws are being followed.


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