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Governor approves water project legislation

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) – UPDATE:  The Idaho Water Resource Board said $22.4 million in state funding was identified for large aquifer-recharge projects in eastern Idaho. The Board is currently researching the capability of several large off-river recharge sites in the Upper Snake River Basin.  

Another $2 million is budgeted to investigate developing more water storage in Bear Lake for water users in the Bear River Basin.

Governor Brad Little signed Senate Bill 1121 into law last week.

Part of his “Building Idaho’s Future” package, the bill is aimed at promoting clean, plentiful supplies of water into the future.

It transfers $50 million from the general fund to the continuously appropriated Water Management Fund.

The bill includes funding for a large upper valley recharge project in eastern Idaho, intended to increase the sustainability of the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. Increased recharge efforts will provide further opportunities to improve aquifer levels for the benefit of farmers, ranchers, and communities across southern Idaho.  

Other projects include enlargement of the Anderson Ranch Reservoir north of Mountain Home and providing a stable water supply for current and expanded missions at the Mountain Home Air Force Base.  

“Water is truly the source of life. How we manage – or mismanage – our water resources determines our success or failure as a state. Our strategic investment in long-term water projects and safe water systems for our communities will benefit Idahoans for generations to come. I appreciate my partners in the Legislature – especially the floor sponsors, Senator Dave Lent and Representative Matt Bundy – for recognizing the need to build Idaho’s future through investments in clean, abundant water,” Governor Little said.

Little’s plan called for using the state’s budget surplus to provide tax relief and make strategic investments in transportation, education, broadband, water, capital construction, and other critical areas.

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