U.S. Water News Online
RUPERT, Idaho -- The negotiated agreement that kept 1,300
southern Idaho wells from being shut off last year expires in six
weeks, which would allow competing water users to proceed with
Negotiations had been based on a plan that included the state
buying water from some farmers and making it available to other
users, and to compensate senior water right holders.
But surface water users, including several local irrigation
districts and canal companies, filed a call for full allotment their
senior water rights -- some of which date back to the early 1900s.
They made the claim in January, saying their water has been
diminished by as much as 30 percent over the past two years.
That stalled negotiations between groundwater users and spring
water users. The two sides have been trying to develop a permanent
plan to restore spring flows from groundwater from King Hill
northeast to Ashton.
Regional groundwater pumpers are impacted by the spring right
holders in the Hagerman Valley while pumpers to the east are impacted
by the various canal systems operating in the area, Lew Pence, Middle
Snake Regional Water Resource Commission chairman, aid in a letter to
Minidoka County Commissioners.
He said canal companies hold senior rights to the springs feeding
American Falls and the commission, which includes representatives
appointed by Cassia, Minidoka, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln and Twin
Falls county commissioners, supports their call for water. The
commission must also support the call made by the spring right
holders in the Hagerman Valley, Pence said.
Pence, in his letter, concluded the state should provide matching
funds for a federal Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program that
would pay farmers to dry up 100,000 acres of land.
But he said the program would impact the region's economy, with a
financial loss of $60 million.
"Laborers would no longer be hired by the farms being taken out of
production and various industrial, commercial and retail labor forces
would see an impact as well," Pence said.
Return to the
U.S. Water News' Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.