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Aquifer recharge program on pace


BOISE, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Idaho Water Resource Board reported Wednesday it is on target to meet its goal of recharging 600,000 acre-feet of water per year into the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (ESPA).

The goal was established under the ESPA Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan in 2009 to bring the aquifer to sustainable levels.

In a report to House Speaker Scott Bedke, the Board said it had reached an annual average water budget of approximately 555,000 acre-feet of water, or 92% of the goal, so far.

The figure includes the Board's ESPA managed recharge program and a 13% reduction in consumptive groundwater use. The reduction came as the result of ground to surface water conversions, cloud seeding, and other measures.

"This is a great step forward for the people of Idaho, making sure that we have a sustainable water supply for future generations and our future needs," said Roger Chase, Chairman of the Idaho Water Resource Board. "In putting together this report over the last six months, it's been very reassuring that the people of Idaho wholeheartedly support protecting and rebuilding this precious resource The ESPA
CAMP is the foundation for creating a sustainable water supply in Southern Idaho. Our report demonstrates that the plan is working."

According to the report, the Board has received $54 million from the Idaho legislature to cover the costs of aquifer-sustainability initiatives. $29 million was spent on the ESPA recharge program, $3.5 million in partnership with Idaho Power Company on cloud seeding, and $2 million for aquifer monitoring and modeling.

"We couldn't have reached the current level of sustainability water targets without the 2015 water settlement, the ESPA CAMP plan, the cities' contribution, Idaho Power's Cloud Seeding program, and all of the follow up actions and cooperation by our partners in the recharge program, canal companies and irrigation districts," added Water Board Vice Chairman Jeff Raybould of Rexburg.

You can view the IWRB's report to Speaker Bedke here.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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