IDAHO FALLS – The outcome of an irrigation lawsuit could determine whether hundreds of Idaho farmers continue to have access to the state’s water supply.
The dispute, which revolves around distribution of water in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer, is between participating members of the Surface Water Coalition in Magic Valley and Idaho Ground Water Appropriators in eastern Idaho.
After years of litigation, the parties reached an agreement in 2015 that they would reduce annual water usage by 240,000 acre-feet (An acre-foot of water is about 326,000 gallons, and it’s enough water to cover an acre of land 1 foot deep). The Idaho Department of Water Resources determined that amount of reductions would replenish the water supply.
Groundwater users also agreed they would only irrigate between April 1 and Oct. 31.
The agreement hit a few snags at the onset of the drought in 2021. Concerns about water shortages sparked more debate, and now both sides are working to renegotiate the terms of the original settlement.
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