Idaho water director warns he may have to curtail groundwater use

rbarker@idahostatesman.comJanuary 13, 2014 

Idaho’s snowfall this week has improved the water supply expected for this summer. But the state’s top watermaster says we will need a lot more to prevent him from having to order some farmers and others to shut off their pumps.

Gary Spackman, director of the Idaho Department of Water Resources, told the House and Senate resource committees Monday to watch the skies.

“If we don’t have an above average year I may be in a position where I have to curtail thousands of acre-feet of groundwater,” Spackman said.

Under Idaho law users with older, senior rights can demand that users with younger, junior rights must quit pumping groundwater or offset the senior's shortage. This curtailment is done under law by Spackman.

The Boise Basin and other areas of Southwest Idaho are among the lowest levels for water this year. Eastern Idaho’s upper Snake River Valley is the area with the best supply in the southern half of the state.

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