Tools for Predicting Land Use in the Treasure Valley

Map of population growth projections for the Treasure Valley in Idaho
Map of population growth projections for the Treasure Valley in Idaho
Highlight File

Treasure Valley is home to Boise, Idaho's capitol and largest city. It is home to companies vital to the state’s economy, including Albertson's, Micron, and J.R. Simplot. Historically, it has seen periods of rapid urban expansion. From 1990-2000, the Boise metropolitan area saw 45 percent growth.

The Treasure Valley Water Atlas (TVWA) is a collection of narratives with insight from local water users and experts, biophysical data, maps, and info-graphics to address important questions concerning water in the Treasure Valley. It is a resource for decision-makers, educators, and water users who care and wish to know more about the Source, Rules, "Pipes", a Conflict, Flow, and potential Futures of water in the Boise River Basin.

As the researchers have noted, "Humans are notoriously bad at visualizing future scenarios and engaging in long-term planning." With this study, the team hopes to give Idaho new decision support tools for sustainable development of mid-sized cities.


This study will help Idaho make decisions regarding water use from the Boise River. It will also help determine population density, agricultural needs, and the development in Idaho's forests and wetlands.


A team of Idaho researchers developed a forecast of urban expansion in Idaho's Treasure Valley, one of Idaho's most important urban and economic regions, through the year 2100. These predictions will help inform decision makers in Idaho for urban planning and land use to best meet the needs of the state’s citizens and environment.