National Groundwater Awareness Week

Groundwater Awareness Week (GWAW) is taking place March 10-16 in 2024! An annual observance established in 1999 to highlight the responsible development, management, and use of groundwater, the event is also a platform to encourage yearly water well testing and well maintenance, and the promotion of policies impacting groundwater quality and supply. Groundwater advocates across the country also use GWAW to highlight local water issues in their communities.
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Over $300,000 awarded to water, wastewater facilities across Idaho

Idaho News
KTVB BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality announced today that they are awarding $331,741 to nine drinking water and wastewater systems across Idaho. The funding for the grant award was made possible under Governor Brad Little's "Leading Idaho" plan, the news release said. "Families, farmers, ranchers, and all Idaho residents rely on clean, efficient water and wastewater systems. These systems are not only a crucial part of our way of life, but our economy as well. Funding for these projects from my Leading Idaho plan aims to ensure that Idaho residents – especially those in our rural communities – can depend on our water and wastewater infrastructure for generations to come," Idaho Governor Brad Little said. This grant provides 50 percent of the necessary funding for each…
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Feds say water cuts to 3 states are enough to protect Colorado River – for now

National News
By Jennifer Solis; Idaho Capital Sun California, Arizona and Nevada agreed to collectively reduce water use by at least 3 million acre-feet through end of 2026 The plan by three states to reduce water use by millions of acre-feet is sufficient to keep major reservoirs in the West from reaching critically low levels and prevent additional water cuts — at least temporarily. (Jeniffer Solis/Nevada Current) A robust water year for the Colorado River has given states that rely on the mighty waterway a few more years of stability as climate change takes its toll, federal officials said Wednesday. Last year, federal officials gave Western states two options to protect the over-allocated Colorado River from the effects of a two-decade megadrought: Either reach a consensus to voluntarily reduce water use or…
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DEQ announces drinking water and wastewater funding opportunities for fiscal year 2025

Idaho News
Local News 8 BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) — The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is announcing fiscal year 2025 funding opportunities for Idaho’s drinking water and wastewater systems. Funding will be used to assist eligible public drinking water and wastewater systems with facility planning projects and help entities build or repair existing public drinking water systems and wastewater treatment facilities. Eligible drinking water applicants include all community public water systems and nonprofit noncommunity systems. Eligible wastewater applicants include governmental entities and nonprofit corporations. Funding Availability DEQ has several funding opportunities available. State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loans SRF loans provide low-interest funding for up to 100% of design and construction costs for drinking water and wastewater facilities. SRF loans also offer below-market interest rates with average rates under 2%. Planning Grants…
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Land use changes by Boise have been big. Why that is causing ‘a major problem’ for wells

Idaho News
By Max Stevenson; Idaho Statesman Beneath the high desert of the Treasure Valley lies a complex aquifer. Below-ground water levels are changing in response to the shifting uses of land at ground level. Urbanization has replaced farm fields with subdivisions and commercial centers, reducing how much water flows into the ground through irrigation. These rapid changes have begun to lower the Boise area’s water table, causing problems for some rural homes that rely on well water. Dennis Owlsey, a hydrogeologist with the Idaho Department of Water Resources, stood before a screen one day this summer, looking at a map showing the conversion of farmland to development. “You don’t need to run any fancy statistics just to visually see it’s a major problem,” Owlsey said. ‘Flood irrigation’ adds to groundwater Western…
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Department of Agriculture reminds people of fishing ban in portions of Snake River due to discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Idaho

Idaho News
By Kara Valentine; KTVB Quagga mussel infestation from Lake Michigan. NOAA. TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A fishing ban on a stretch of the Snake River was put into effect Friday, Sept. 22, in response to the detection of quagga mussels in Twin Falls. "This is more than a local Twin Falls issue because so many people from the Treasure Valley use the Snake River," a public information officer wrote. As part of the emergency declaration, Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG), along with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, closed fishing of any kind on the Snake River from Twin Falls Hydroelectric Dam to the bridge crossing the Snake River at Highway 46. On Monday, Sept. 25 the Idaho State Department of Agriculture said people are not staying off the water.…
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New committee takes on Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer

Idaho News
By Bill Schaefer; Capital Press POCATELLO, Idaho — A diverse group of 13 water users met Sept. 13 to review the 2015 agreement between groundwater and surface water users and its impact on the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. The group's job is to draft amendments to the agreement or a new management plan that will help restore the aquifer without harming senior or junior water rights holders. IDWR Director Gary Spackman tasked James Cefalo, the IDWR eastern regional manager, with organizing the advisory committee. In 2016, Spackman designated the aquifer as a Ground Water Management Area. A GWMA designates all or part of a groundwater basin that may be approaching conditions of a Critical Ground Water Area. Idaho aquifer Under a GWMA, applications for new water appropriations may be approved…
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Toxin-producing cyanobacteria found in water samples at Idaho’s Island Park Reservoir

Idaho News
By Christina Lords; Idaho Capital Sun  This is an example of a blue-green algae bloom in Boyer Slough on Lake Pend Oreille in August 2021. (Courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game) Idahoans should use caution when recreating in or near the Island Park Reservoir after high amounts of toxin-producing cyanobacteria was recently found in water samples there, according to a press release from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Visit the Idaho Recreational Water Health Advisories tab at the Get Healthy Idaho website for advisories and sampled locations at water bodies throughout Idaho. The toxins can be harmful to people, pets and livestock. The health department works closely with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to identify, respond to, and monitor cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms, known as cyanoHABs. When…
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Health Advisory Issued for Harmful Algal Bloom at Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir

Idaho News
Magic Valley Times-News The Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir has shown an elevated level of cyanotoxin, according to the Department of Environmental Quality, on Monday. A public health advisory has been issued warning people to avoid contact with the water. Discovery of elevated levels of a cyanotoxin —  a harmful algal bloom — at Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir has prompted the South Central Public Health District to issue a public health advisory. Recent tests from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality shows levels of a cyanotoxin, microcystin, are now at unhealthy levels in the reservoir. Exposure to this toxin can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. When recreating at Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir the public is advised to take the following steps to protect their health: Avoid exposure to water…
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