IDWR has sent a curtailment notice

IDWR has sent a curtailment notice

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
The Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) has sent a curtailment notice to about 129 water users representing approximately 136 groundwater rights in the Magic Valley and Eastern Idaho. The notice warns water users that IDWR will curtail their water use if they’re not members of a water district with an approved mitigation plan.

The Upper Snake River Basin, like much of Southern Idaho, experienced a very dry winter with a below-normal snowpack. The Army Corps of Engineers-Bureau of Reclamation May 1 coordinated streamflow runoff forecast predicted a 2.1 million acre-foot runoff volume in the Snake River from May through July, which is approximately 74 percent of normal.

The curtailment notice affects groundwater users whose water rights have a priority date junior to May 30, 1989, and are located within the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (ESPA) area of common groundwater supply. Water shutoffs will begin on June 3, 2020, according to the curtailment notice.

The notices are related to a 2011 water delivery call by the Surface Water Coalition. IDWR has approved mitigation plans in relation to this delivery call submitted by the Idaho Ground Water Appropriators (IGWA), the Southwest and Goose Creek Irrigation Districts, the Coalition of Cities, and the A&B Irrigation District.

Groundwater users with priority dates junior to May 30, 1989, can avoid curtailment as long as the owners of those rights are covered by an approved mitigation plan or are members in “good standing” with an IGWA groundwater district or another party with an approved mitigation plan. To stay in “good standing” with a groundwater district, water users must be current in paying all-district assessments, which the districts use to fund their mitigation activities.

IDWR officials encourage junior groundwater users receiving curtailment notices to join a groundwater district near them to receive the benefit of the approved mitigation plan and avoid curtailment. Under the curtailment order, water users have 15 days to join a groundwater district. Most, but not all junior groundwater users in the region have already joined a district for mitigation purposes.

“If a groundwater user receives a notice of curtailment, that means neither IDWR nor the watermaster has received notice from IGWA that an approved mitigation plan covers the user’s water rights, or that they’re a participant in good standing with a groundwater district that has an approved mitigation plan in the ESPA region,” said Mat Weaver, Deputy Director of IDWR.

The curtailment notice warns recipients that IDWR’s watermasters will curtail their groundwater rights unless the water users send proof of participation in a groundwater district and mitigation plan to the watermasters of Water Districts 100, 110, 120, 130, or 140. Groundwater rights for single-family domestic and small stock water uses are exempt from the curtailment order.

For more information, contact the IDWR water distribution staff at 208-287-4800 or 208-736-3033.

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