AP NEWS

Potentially historic water rights hearing wraps up

December 12, 2018

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — State lawmakers lent their support to a potentially historic request to transfer water from the Treasure Valley to Elmore County on the final day of public testimony.

If the application is approved, Elmore County could draw water from Anderson Ranch Dam on the South Fork Boise River, the Idaho Press-Tribune reported .

The group testifying consisted of concerned citizens, outdoor organization representatives and lawmakers from the Elmore County area.

“This water is badly needed in Elmore County as the Mountain Home aquifer is depleting roughly 2 feet per year,” said state Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, testifying in favor of the application.

Brackett went on to argue that the water isn’t actually used by the Treasure Valley, and it could be used to help Elmore County.

Opponents of the application are concerned about what the impact on the Boise River could be during low-flow years because the Treasure Valley receives about half of its water from the Anderson Ranch Dam.

Proponents say Elmore County would only take during flood flows, but opponents argue that it has the potential to harm the Boise River, and that Boise needs to retain its natural resources.

Under state law, an application of this kind can be denied if opponents can show a transfer of water would have a negative economic effect on the area served by the water.

Hearing officer Mathew Weaver says he anticipates the Department of Water Resources will announce a decision before the end of March 2019.

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Information from: Idaho Press, http://www.idahopress.com