Water is the life blood of my district. Water has changed a desert into a vibrant and productive land. The survival of our families, agriculture, and businesses are dependent upon a sustainable and adequate supply of water. The Legislature has appropriated funds for the Idaho Department of Water Resources to prepare a computer model of all aquifers in Idaho. This will give the IDWR and the State of Idaho a very valuable tool in better managing the aquifers in the future.
We also appropriated money for a Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan for the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (CAMP) in Southern Idaho. The CAMP Committee consisted of a broad base of Southern Idaho citizens appointed by the Governor. The committee report will be submitted in a few months. Some of the major issues the CAMP Committee is looking at are:
1. Conversions of groundwater to surface water within the sprinkling systems
2. Aquifer recharge using the canal systems
3. Crop modifications of planting low water consuming crops or taking land out of production with the Federal Conservation Reserve Environmental Program (CREP)
4. Buy outs or buy downs of existing water rights
5. Weather modification such as seeding the clouds for enhancing snow pack
6. Increase storage possibilities such as raising Minidoka Dam, build Galloway and Teton Dams
An issue of concern to Idaho Water Users is the amount of water that may be required for Flow Augmentation. I will continue to protect our water rights with support for the Prior Appropriation Doctrine of "First in Time, First in Right" and to protect Idaho's water from out-of-state interests.