Idaho is fining Farmers $300 PER ACRE for using water

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Idaho farmers are indeed facing significant challenges related to water access.

  • The Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) issued a curtailment order for eastern Idaho irrigators who were found to be noncompliant with a state-approved mitigation plan. This order was scheduled to go into effect recently.
  • The curtailment order impacts about 6,400 junior groundwater rights holders who pump water from the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. This aquifer supplies water to the Twin Falls Canal Co, which has senior water rights.
  • The projected shortfall of water to the Twin Falls Canal Co is approximately 74,100-acre-feet. To put this in perspective, an acre-foot of water is roughly equivalent to 326,000 gallons, enough to cover an acre of land one foot deep.
  • The potential impact extends to approximately 500,000 acres of farmland throughout the state, including counties such as Bingham, Bonneville, Jefferson, and Clark in eastern Idaho.
  • Clark County Commissioner MaCoy Ward, who farms 8,500 acres of land in the area, expressed concern. If the curtailment order is enforced, water would be cut off to all of his land, preventing him from irrigating crops this year. Even if water isn’t shut off, fines of at least $300 per acre would be imposed, and there’s also the possibility of lawsuits.
  • The consequences aren’t limited to farmers alone; truckers who transport products harvested by local farmers would be forced to freight those products elsewhere, potentially resulting in price increases for customers.
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The situation is undoubtedly challenging for farmers, and the financial implications are substantial. Efforts are underway to find solutions, but as of now, no final resolution has been reached. Hopefully, negotiations will lead to a more sustainable outcome for all parties involved.

h/t rewind

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