Water Worries Plaque Irrigators

Published online: Mar 22, 2001
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Irrigators in eastern Idaho were told Wednesday that Idaho's "rental pool" laws would have to be redesigned before irrigators would be able to sell their irrigation water back through the Snake River system.

Idaho has a statewide rental pool water agreement among irrigation companies and other users so that water use can be shifted to meet special localized needs. With power and other farming costs expected to increase this year, growers are considering selling a portion of their water to Idaho Power Company for power generation.

Ron Carlson, Snake River water master, told the group that this year could be the second worst water year since 1977. He said that if the state experiences a dry spring and summer it could go down as the worst in 100 years.

There simply will not be enough water to meet all water rights needs on the river this year, it was explained. Growers, who will start planting in the next few days, must make plans to balance reduced water allocations, especially for water-intensive-use crops like potatoes and sugarbeets.