In order to avoid curtailment of groundwater pumping next year for 85,000 acres in Idaho, representatives of both ground water districts and canal companies and other surface water rights holders have made an agreement.
The groundwater districts agreed to supply rental pool water to senior surface water rights holders further down the Snake River rather than give up groundwater pumping.
Idaho's continued drought will put both groups of irrigators in a serious situation next spring as holdover water supplies are virtually non-existent as the 2001 irrigation season comes to a close.
About 68,500-acre feet of water will be required for the settlement agreement. If the groundwater districts fail to provide the surface water through Idaho's water bank, they will have to limit groundwater pumping enough to achieve the same goal. The agreement is for two years.
During this time, studies will continue to help substantiate the affect ground water pumping has on surface senior water rights down river.
A separate agreement was reached with processors and other large industrial users to keep their water flowing.