Water Rights Being Sought In Idaho

Published online: Mar 21, 2005
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An organization is advertising for proposals to lease Snake River, tributary or ground water rights above Milner Dam (Burley, ID) to provide "mitigation water" for ground water districts.

Idaho Ground Water Appropriators Inc., is advertising in newspapers that willing water right holders may submit offers no later than April 1.

Any water rights given up, will be financially satisfied by groundwater pumpers who will trade that water in lieu of shutting down their groundwater pumping.

The state is again experiencing a drier-than-normal winter, with snowpack totals in the Upper Snake River water basins only at 75 percent of normal with the April 1 snow surveys looking bleak.

March has seen heavy overcast and threatening skies but storms are leaving very little snow on top of the snowpack.

In an effort to satisfy downstream senior water rights holders, the state is looking to partially shut down upstream groundwater junior water rights holders to meet downstream needs.

However, many legislators don't want anything to do with water mitigation, believing it is a water-user problem. Some have threatened to end the session and let matters fall where they may because they cannot get sides to agree.

With some planting operations already under way in southern and southwestern Idaho, the vice is tightening on upstream users time-wise as the days go on.