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Idaho Water Board chairman to offer Senate testimony

Idaho Water Resource Board Chairman Roger Chase will report to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power Wednesday, October 4. Chase will outline Idaho’s program of using surplus winter stream flows to recharge the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (ESPA).

Committee member, Idaho Senator James Risch, said he wants to know about the use of surplus flows for aquifer recharge in general, but also understand why some states are not using more un-storable and un-allocated federal water for aquifer recharge.

During the winter of 2016-17, the Idaho Water Resources Board set a record, recharging more than 315,000 acre-feet of water into the ESPA. The board is working to expand the state’s infrastructure in the Upper Snake River Valley and Middle Snake to recharge about 250,000 acre-feet of water into the ESPA each year.

Idaho uses a water right that is specifically set aside for the purpose of using surplus federal water flows to recharge the aquifer.

“Idaho is nationally recognized for its efforts in dealing with water issues,” said Chase. “Our aquifer-recharge efforts are among the best in the nation. Water users and citizens across the state are working together to finding solutions to our water issues.”

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