Idaho Water News

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Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition

EIWRC News

Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition Members:

We would like to encourage you to attend an Idaho Falls City Club lunch featuring Representative Stephanie Mickelsen addressing the topic, "Water Today, Tomorrow, and for Future Generations." The event will take place Thursday, May 16 from noon to 1:30.  Please see this flyer for full details.

Representative Mickelsen is President of the Bonneville Jefferson Groundwater District and Chair of the Idaho Groundwater Appropriators, both members of our Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition.  She will be addressing issues surrounding the water call and conflicts between groundwater users and the Surface Water Coalition. 

It is important to have people in the audience that understand the issues and are prepared to ask appropriate questions.

Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition Members:

Please see the attached Press Release from the Idaho Department of Water Resources.  Here are the key points:

  • IDWR has found that the Twin Falls Canal will face a shortfall of 74,100 acre-feet of water in 2024.
  • This methodology order is court approved and shows the impacts of groundwater pumpers on senior water right holders.  It is based on current water supply conditions.
  • All Groundwater users junior to March 31, 1954 must have an approved mitigation plan or they will be subject to curtailment.
  • The other six entities in the Surface Water Coalition do not face a shortfall.
  • There is a lot of litigation currently regarding mitigation plans.  IDWR Director Weaver said, “I recommend ground water users ensure their ground water districts are in strict compliance with all necessary components of their mitigation plans as determined by IDWR to avoid widespread curtailment.”
  • The Director will review the order in July.

Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition 2024 Goals

  1. Participate actively in water legislation development and related political actions.
  2. Conduct water education for legislators including ESPA GMA plans and a Legislative Water College Tour in Eastern Idaho.
  3. Monitor and participate in the ESPA Groundwater Management Area process.
  4. Continue to fund an expert to participate on the ESPA Aquifer Modeling Committee, but with abbreviated reports.
  5. Help non-city municipal water providers find a better path to be a part of the SWC agreement and ESPA GMA.

Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition Members:

Yesterday (4/15/2024) the Idaho Water Users Association and the Department of Agriculture gave an update on the Quagga Mussel situation in the state.  Additional funding this year from the legislature is allowing them to expand the invasive species program to try to prevent any future mussel finds.  Here are some key points:

  • Three new boat inspection stations will be used this year, including two near the find in Twin Falls.
  • Cities or counties can receive up to 20% of the invasive sticker fee revenue to conduct their own programs if they want.
  • There will be a doubling of sampling efforts all across the state to ensure any possible infestation is found early.
  • A large PR campaign will soon be launched to help educate the public on the importance of properly cleaning boats and why this is so important to the whole state.
  • It is still too early in the season to do more sampling to see if last fall’s treatment of the middle Snake River was successful. (The water is still too cold for any mussel growth.)

There are two Department of Ag websites where you can get additional information:

This site updates where the monitoring is taking place.

This site shows the report on the watercraft testing stations.

Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition Members:

The Bureau of Reclamation and Water District #01 reported this morning that Milner spill is projected to start due to increased releases from Palisades on March 25.  This means that basin-wide recharge will be available.  When it will end depends on weather, which could be anytime between late April and mid-June.

It is expected that several hundred thousand acre-feet of water will spill past Milner, so everyone should do all they can to take the opportunity to recharge the aquifer while there is water to do so.  Here are some additional points:

  • The BOR is working to waive Winter Water Savings next week.
  • When spill occurs all “last to fill” obligations end.
  • The actual date a particular canal can commence recharge is based on “Milner Time.”  For example canals on the Henry’s Fork could start recharge about five days prior to the Milner spill.
  • If a canal wants to recharge and doesn’t have a recharge water right, they can get a temporary permit from IDWR for $50.  They can also contact the Idaho Water Resources Board – Cooper Fritz – to do recharge for the board.
  • Increased flow from Palisades will start March 18.
  • Peak flows past Milner could get to 10,000 cfs for a time.
  • Magic Valley recharge was recently increased to 784 cfs.
  • Swan Falls flow is 400 to 500 cfs above 2023 – indicating good spring flows from the ESPA.
  • BOR and NRCS expect flows at Heise to be 94% of “normal” this year.
  • Exact dates and projections will be available on the Water District #01 website.

News Articles

Stay current with all of the latest water news articles.

Ditch the secret backroom dam breaching deals. Let’s focus on common ground.

by Governor Brad Little and Lt. Governor Scott Bedke | 12/15/2023

Lower Snake River dams closer to coming down with new agreement

by Anna V. Smith | High Country News | 12/15/2023

It’s official: Dam agreement announced

by | Lewiston Tribute | 12/15/2023

U.S. Government Sets New Course on Lower Snake River, Toward ‘Right Side of History’

by Jaqueline Koch | National Wildlife Federation | 12/14/2023

Irrigators support dam settlement

by | Lewiston Tribute | 12/14/2023

About This Site

Thank you for visiting. To learn more about water related issues we face in Eastern Idaho, please visit our Idaho Water News page. If you wish to have a part in preserving our precious resources, please visit our Get Involved page.

Strategic Priorities for 2023

  • Conduct water education for legislators regarding SWC / IGWA agreement and ESPA Groundwater Management Area plans
  • Monitor and participate in the ESPA Groundwater Management Area process
  • Continue to fund an expert to participate on the ESPA Aquifer Modeling Committee
  • Help non-city municipal water providers find a better path to be a part of the SWC agreement and ESPA GMA
  • Update and utilize the Coalition’s website

EIWRC Mission Statement

The Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition understands the vital importance of water to Eastern Idaho's economy now and in the future. The coalition provides a strong and unified voice to protect water rights critical for economic growth in Eastern Idaho and promotes discussion and ideas that will best enhance the utilization of water for future economic development.

Contact the EIWRC

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Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition c/o Keith EsplinP.O. Box 500
Island Park, ID 83429

Financial Disclosure

The Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition was formed and registered in 2007 in the State of Idaho as non-profit, tax-exempt corporation. A similar designation under Section 501©(3) of the IRS code is pending. A letter verifying the tax-exempt status of the EIWRC can be obtained by contacting us at: Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition, c/o Keith Esplin, 593 East 5th South, Rexburg, ID 83440. Financial summary information for the Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition is contained in its annual report.