- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2016

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - Idaho water regulators have ordered 160 eastern Idaho groundwater users to cut back their consumption.

The Idaho Department of Water Resources on Wednesday announced a curtailment order that will go into effect June 3 and will shift water rights fromt many upstream users to the Surface Water Coalition, a group of Magic Valley irrigators with senior water rights, The Post Register reported (https://bit.ly/1OBvWSz).

Groundwater users who have not signed onto a mitigation plan will be affected by the order, including the cities of Roberts and Shelley, Idahoan Foods, J.R. Simplot, Jefferson County Parks and Recreation, Walters Ready Mix, USA Fertilizer and many others. Water cutbacks may be large, with a number of entities ordered to cut their diversion rate by at least 1 cubic foot of water per second, an amount Department of Water Resources’ deputy director Mathew Weaver said can irrigate about 50 acres of land.

Last month Idaho Falls and a number of other cities negotiated a mitigation plan to avoid the curtailment while still limiting water use.

Weaver said water users facing curtailment would best be able to avoid the cuts by joining a groundwater district that is already covered by an existing mitigation plan.

“There are some pretty big irrigation rights on (the list),” Weaver said. “If I was in their shoes, I would try to get in a groundwater district as fast as I could.”

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Information from: Post Register, https://www.postregister.com


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