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Press Release: Lt. Governor Bedke’s Statement on the Water User Agreement Reached for the 2024 Growing Season

By • June 22, 2024

The following press release was sent out by the Office of Idaho Lieutenant Governor Scott Bedke. Press releases do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

IDAHO – After weeks of negotiations between Idaho’s surface water users and groundwater districts, a compromise has been reached between the two groups that effectively ends the potential water curtailment order from the Idaho Department of Water Resources. This temporary agreement ensures that eastern Idaho’s farmers will continue to have access to water this growing season.

Lt. Governor Scott Bedke released the following statement regarding the compromise agreement:

“The past few weeks have been difficult for everyone affected by this water crisis. The many hours of discussion and negotiation have highlighted areas of agreement as well as areas of deep disagreement among water users in the region. I appreciate that our southern Idaho surface water and groundwater users were able to put aside their differences and come together to create an equitable solution that guarantees no water is shut off, no Idaho laws are broken, and the crops already in the ground will be ready for harvesting,” said Lt. Governor Scott Bedke.

“But it’s imperative that those same parties understand their work is not finished,” Bedke continued. “We absolutely cannot go into another growing season without arriving at a mutually agreeable mitigation plan. There are still a number of significant details to work out before we can arrive at a solid, workable plan. We have the remainder of this year to come up with such a plan, so we won’t find ourselves in this same situation next June.”

According to 2024’s temporary agreement, all surface water and groundwater users in the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer will need to create and agree to a new water right plan that adheres to the Idaho Constitution’s prior appropriation doctrine of “first in time, first in right.” Per this new agreement, a more permanent plan between senior and junior water right holders must be reached by early this fall.

“I’m a fourth-generation Idaho rancher and farmer, and my roots run deep into Idaho’s soil. So, all Idaho farmers are important to me – and vitally important to our state economy and to every citizen. All Idaho farmers deserve to know what their water allotment will be each year so they can meet their business and contractual obligations,” the Lt. Governor said.

“Water is our most precious natural resource, and we absolutely need to find a fair long-term solution that guarantees a predictable water supply into the future. It is the responsibility of all water users to leave the aquifer healthy for generations to come,” Bedke said. “As Lieutenant Governor and as an Idaho farmer, I am willing to use my office and my experience to facilitate the ongoing negotiations that will be necessary to get there.”


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Tags: Agriculture, Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer, ground water districts, Idaho Department of Water Resources, Idaho Farmers, IDWR, Irrigation, junior water rights, Magic Valley, Scott Bedke, senior water rights, Water, water curtailment, Water Rights

5 thoughts on “Press Release: Lt. Governor Bedke’s Statement on the Water User Agreement Reached for the 2024 Growing Season

  1. $15 million dollars appropriated to help fund the Ukraine war has been given to a mining company, Jervois Global, that is extracting cobalt in Idaho. Farmers’ water supplies are also being cut by the government and appear to be redirected to the cobalt mining efforts that require massive amounts of water. Authorities claim that the purpose is to end our dependence on “fossil fuels”, which is a pipe dream because our electrical grid would not be able to provide enough electricity to cover the elimination of gas and oil. The mine is expected to produce 2,000 pounds of cobalt per year, that represents 10% of US demand for new batteries. Critics believe that the manufactured water shortage denying water to 500,000 acres of farmland will affect food production and is a depopulation program.

  2. I wonder how much money the governor and the rest of Idahos politicians received from this mining company?

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