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Idaho State News

Gov. Little Releases Statement on Progress Toward Proving Water Certainty in 2024 Irrigation Season

Release from the Office of Gov. Brad Little
June 8, 2024

Release from the Office of Gov. Brad Little June 8, 2024

BOISE – Governor Brad Little commented Friday on the progress of negotiations to avoid a water curtailment order that could impact hundreds of eastern Idaho farmers.


Two more groundwater districts became compliant on Thursday with an approved mitigation plan, giving them safe harbor from curtailment. The groundwater districts and surface water users remain engaged in finding a path forward for complying with the law, Constitution, and approved mitigation plans.

“Idahoans have always solved our own problems. I applaud the water users who continue to negotiate and work toward a solution. The progress made this week shows the plan can work this year. However, as Director Weaver said, the approved mitigation plans are showing their age;  the most recent is nearly a decade old, and there are better ways to do things in the future. I have always believed Idahoans should control their own destiny, and I strongly encourage all water users to stay at the table to resolve their differences.

“What people cannot see, especially in a ‘good’ water year, is what’s underground – the ongoing dwindling supply of water in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. Water from the aquifer feeds the Snake River. Like we do as Idahoans, we are coming together and building some momentum around efforts to get ground water users in compliance with an approved mitigation plan.

“Idaho must maintain our water sovereignty and not turn out like other western states in the Colorado River Basin, such as California, where the federal government stepped in to supersede the state’s control of its water. We absolutely must conserve water for future generations, which is why the Legislature and I championed half a billion dollars in historic investments in recent years to modernize water infrastructure statewide.

“My administration has been engaged on this issue for years, most recently through the formation of a Groundwater Management Plan Advisory Council. The creation of the council will continue this summer to help find solutions outside government. We remain committed to working with all water users in Idaho to ensure we have a sustainable supply of water for this generation and future generations.

“If we continue the status quo with water use on the Eastern Snake Plain, we are setting our children and grandchildren up for failure. Water curtailment is never desired, but the director must follow the approved mitigation plans, Idaho law, and the Constitution. Moving forward, the director needs an improved mitigation plan that reflects that. I know Idahoans can accomplish this,” Governor Little said.


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