Idaho Water Resource Board invests in aquifer recharge, irrigation efficiency projects

Idaho News
Capital Press The Idaho Water Resource Board’s Milepost 31 Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer recharge site. Projects adding to recharge capacity are among those funded by the board Nov. 18. Boosting aquifer levels and improving irrigation delivery efficiency are the focus of Idaho Water Resource Board moves to financially support several projects in the state’s south-central and southeast regions. The board Nov. 18 approved a $14.1 million loan to Raft River Recharge Group. Plans call for building a pump station on the Snake River, a 13-mile pipeline, and recharge basins to add water to a declining aquifer in a state-designated critical groundwater management area. The declining aquifer levels are a key factor in intermittent surface flows on the Raft River, a Snake tributary. Most farmers are now pumping groundwater for irrigation,…
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Cold temps promising for snowpack, but Idaho’s drought outlook for 2023 unclear

Idaho News
By Erin Banks Rusby; Idaho Press Snowpack at Bogus Basin in Boise, Idaho. The normal high temperature for Boise on Nov. 9 is 52 degrees. But this year on that day, the high was just in the 30s. Even in mid-November, Boise’s normal highs are in the 40s, said Troy Lindquist, a senior hydrologist with the National Weather Service. That said, the Treasure Valley’s recent cold weather in tandem with the snow that fell is good news for Idaho’s water supply, he said. “That’s nearly 20 degrees below normal, for Boise, so it’s definitely going to be chilly,” Lindquist said during a meeting earlier this month about the outlook for Idaho’s water supply over the next year. “The nice thing about this is we’ve got a fast start to our…
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Water issues seminar to be part of Idaho Farm Bureau annual meeting

Idaho News
Capital Press State and regional water issues are to be discussed in a joint seminar slated as part of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s Dec. 6-8 annual meeting in Boise. The seminar is scheduled at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 6 at the Riverside Hotel, 2900 Chinden Blvd. The Farm Bureau, the Idaho Water Users Association and the state Grain Producers Association will host it. It is expected to be well attended as it will provide important updates and background information on major water issues, said Sean Ellis, a Farm Bureau spokesman. The Nez Perce Agreement and issues in the Snake and Columbia river basins — including legal challenges to a fisheries-related biological opinion on the four Lower Snake River dams — are among topics to be addressed. A 2004 agreement between…
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Feds Sue Driggs, Idaho for Excess Pollutants in Wastewater

Idaho News, National News
Bloomberg Law The City of Driggs, Idaho illegally discharged pollutants from its sewer system, the US says in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act. Driggs’ wastewater treatment plant and sewage collection system failed to comply with the city’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which allowed it to release wastewater from an outfall if it followed certain discharge limits, according to the lawsuit. The complaint, filed Monday in the US District Court for the District of Idaho, says the city didn’t comply with the permit’s limits for E. coli, ammonia, and other biochemicals on various days within the past five years. Some sampling records lacked signatures, dates, and times, the lawsuit said. The EPA entered into a consent agreement with the city in 2018 to resolve the…
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DEQ announces drinking water and wastewater funding opportunities for fiscal year 2024

Idaho News
Local News 8 BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) — The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is announcing fiscal year 2024 grant and loan funding opportunities for Idaho’s drinking water and wastewater systems. Funding will be used to assist eligible public drinking water systems and wastewater systems with facility planning projects and help entities build or repair existing public drinking water systems and wastewater treatment facilities. Eligible applicants include governmental entities and nonprofit corporations that have authority to collect, treat, or dispose of sewage or industrial wastewater as well as community water systems and nonprofit noncommunity water systems. Funding Availability DEQ has several funding opportunities available. State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loans State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans provide low-interest funding for up to 100% of design and construction costs for drinking water and…
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Idaho awards grants for fixing aging water infrastructure

Idaho News
By Brad Carlson; Capital Press Joe Tackett and Greg Curtis of Nampa and Meridian, Idaho, Irrigation District at the Ridenbaugh Canal headworks on the Boise River. Brad Carlson/Capital Press The Idaho Water Resource Board on Sept. 16 approved 12 grants totaling $12.5 million to upgrade aging irrigation infrastructure. The board’s finance committee on Sept. 8 endorsed the grant recipients and dollar amounts, which the full board approved. The board received 31 requests for a combined $41 million. A single region cannot get more than half of the money. In the southwest, for example, the state approved a grant of $1.82 million rather than the $3.18 million Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District requested to modernize Ridenbaugh Canal. District directors will decide how to proceed with the project, said Greg Curtis, water…
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Spokane Riverkeeper urges conservation as water flows fall

Idaho News
By Kip Hall; The Spokesman Review Kayakers paddle slowly down the Little Spokane River where it flows along State Route 291 and near where it flows into the Spokane River in this July 2021 photo. River flows that year were among their lowest over the past five years, according to United States Geological Survey data, and flows this year are approaching those levels after the river was roaring from heavy snowmelt and rain earlier this spring. (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW) The organization tasked with protecting the Spokane River is urging city residents to reduce their water use, including watering lawns and plants just twice per week, during the final weeks of summer as flows plunge to droughtlike levels. “We had all this water. We had this great snowpack,” said Jerry White…
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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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River and Sky: A fish biologist’s perspective of counting salmon from the air

Idaho News
By Carli Baum; East Idaho News SALMON RIVER — On a chilly morning, I’m awake and alert as I can be. I’m strapped into a helicopter seat, flight helmet on, doors off, safety checks done, GPS in one hand, radio in the other and a data sheet secured to my thigh. The excitement grows as the rotor blades pick up momentum and start humming loudly. We lift off from the ground and begin our trip into the backcountry. As I look over the wilderness mountains, my heart is pounding, I feel like a fish out of water and think, “How did I end up here? I’m a fish biologist!” As fisheries biologists, we are used to walking along a streambed looking down to see what fish we can find. However,…
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Our Gem: The Confluence Project is making science fun

Idaho News
Coeur d’Alene Press The Our Gem Collaboratives’ mission is to preserve lake health and protect water quality by promoting community awareness of local resources through education, outreach and stewardship. There is a unique program for high school students that embodies the kind of educational outreach the Our Gem Collaborative strives to achieve. This program not only immerses students in local water resource issues but allows them to get outside and actually experience their local environment. The Confluence Project (TCP) is a year-long program that connects students to North Idaho’s lakes, streams, mountains and aquifer through a combination of on-site studies and classroom work. There weren’t programs like this in schools in the past. This program is unique to North Idaho. The curriculum was created by graduate students at the University…
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