Exploding population boom in Idaho is affecting domestic water supply

Idaho News
By Anteia McCollum; Idaho Capital Sun Tourists and locals alike enjoy a beach along the shores of Coeur d’Alene Lake near the resort in Kootenai County. (Anteia Elswick/Idaho Capital Sun) As more people migrate to Idaho, counties like Ada and Kootenai are seeing the effects of the rising population on the areas’ already diminishing water sources. Whether water is coming from groundwater sources like aquifers or surface water sources like rivers and reservoirs, local officials say Idaho’s water is being used faster than it can be replenished. In 2015, Idaho had the highest water usage per person in the nation with an average of 184 gallons of water being used a day, according to a report from the U.S. Geological Survey. While 1.6% of Idaho’s water withdrawals were used for…
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You asked: Where will Avimor get its water from?

Idaho News
By Margaret Carmel; BoiseDev The entrance of Avimor off of Highway 55. Photo: Margaret Carmel/BoiseDev Police, fire, and emergency medical services aren’t the only essentials a developer needs to sort out when building a subdivision in the Boise foothills. Avimor, a growing community spanning the Ada, Boise, and Gem county lines, hopes to build nearly 10,000 homes by its completion in the coming decades. Along with the necessary road improvements, businesses, a community center, and the homes themselves, developer Dan Richter also has to build a water system to serve the homes along Highway 55. Between the combination of wells, surface water rights on the property dating back over a century, and a boost from Suez, Richter says nearly the entire project will be served by water in the ground…
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Finding an alternative water source for the Palouse

Idaho News
Moscow-Pullman Daily News The Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee is currently evaluating additional water sources for Latah and Whitman counties. Robin Nimmer, a senior hydrologist in the Water Resources Division at Alta Science and Engineering, spoke at the League of Women Voters of Moscow speaker forum Wednesday about how to ensure a lasting supply of water for the communities. "We've known about water level decline for a very long time," she said. "The wells aren't flowing anymore and we actually have data that shows us the water level is declining in our aquifer." Nimmer has recently been working with the Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee, which was formed in the 1980s, to evaluate alternative water sources for the region. The committee's mission since its start has been to plan for continued use…
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Scientist presents major groundwater quality analysis for south central Idaho

Idaho News
By Rachel Cohen; Boise State Public Radio News A water quality sampling line is fed down a groundwater well in southern Idaho. Idaho Water Science Center USGS Water in south central Idaho has had nutrient issues for a long time. That’s according to Kenneth Skinner, a groundwater hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. But Skinner said, while several state and federal agencies have collected data in the Magic Valley area since the 1990s, there hasn’t been a recent analysis of regional groundwater contamination trends. That’s what he set out to complete by analyzing samples of a particularly widespread pollutant, nitrogen, from over 500 groundwater wells. Some common sources of nitrogen are fertilizer and manure. His findings, shared at the Idaho Water Quality Workshop on Wednesday, show nitrate levels in the Magic…
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Ketchum joins coalition to help preserve water sources

Idaho News
By Andrew Guckes; Idaho Mountain Express On Monday Ketchum became the final city in the Wood River Valley to approve a term sheet proposed by the Idaho Department of Water Resources that requires each party to put forth funds to combat water shortages and help preserve groundwater aquifers in the area. The deal includes Sun Valley Co. and the Sun Valley Water and Sewer District, in addition to the cities of Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey and Bellevue. For the next three years, each of those parties will contribute $10 per acre-foot of groundwater diversions to the newly formed Conservation, Infrastructure and Efficiency Fund, which will be managed by a specially formed committee. They have agreed to also pay $3.60 per acre-foot of groundwater diversions to cloud-seeding projects that directly benefit…
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Ground Water/Source Water Protection Paper Published

Research
The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) and the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) have jointly released a paper developed by ASDWA with the help of a few states entitled, “Groundwater-Based Source Water Protection.” This paper serves as a great educational handout for state drinking water and groundwater programs, as well as water utilities and other water quality stakeholders, to share with potential partners when talking about the importance of, and special considerations for, protecting groundwater sources of drinking water. The paper includes a short background and four sections: The Challenge of Protecting Groundwater SourcesFederal and State Programs for Groundwater ProtectionElements of a Groundwater Protection FrameworkState Examples Anyone interested in protecting groundwater can use this paper to help drive actions and work with partners on any or all the…
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