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Idaho, Utah and Rocky Mountain Power gearing up for battle over more water in Bear Lake

Bear Lake in Southeast Idaho
Bear Lake in Southeast Idaho Google Earth

Some farmers are worried that Rocky Mountain Power's plans to store more water in Southeast Idaho's Bear Lake could subject their farmlands along the Bear River to flooding — or even lead the electrical utility company to use eminent domain to acquire their properties, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Friday.

Rocky Mountain Power, whose service area includes most of eastern Idaho, Utah and southwestern Wyoming, wants the extra water to increase its flexibility to operate its dams on the river in response to real-time demand for power.

Bear Lake is a freshwater lake that straddles the Utah-Idaho border. It's about 109 square miles in size.

This caught the attention of Idaho and Utah water regulators.

"In April, Utah and Idaho officials filed joint applications with water regulators in both states for control of 400,000 acre feet of water out of Bear Lake — a vast amount of water they believe would be made available for other uses if Rocky Mountain Power succeeds in its plans to secure additional storage," reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

Here's their full report on the issue.