Idaho groundwater pumpers could lose water. By Matt Christensen. Times-News writer.
This is of huge importance in Idaho, politically, economically, environmentally. It began with “a call” for water from two of Idaho’s many trout farms.
Most Western states follow the “prior appropriation doctrine” for water rights — the first persons to put the water “to beneficial” use, has the first rights when a shortage comes. Idaho is no exception, and it is one of the biggest irrigation states.
Until recently, when the water court ruled out the plain facts, it was a common belief that river flows and pumped groundwater were not related! When the Snake River (water rights) Adjudication Court ruled in favor of geological truth, millions of acres of land that had been put into irrigated production via pumped ground water upstream of Twin Falls, fell into the junior water rights category.
Now the pumpers day of reckoning may have finally come.
They have tried to put it off by various schemes such as a plan to divert the Snake River so it flows and sinks into the desert in the winter (to recharge aquifers), and even plotting to tax Idaho’s urban residents to pay for it.