Water
4:29 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Gov. Otter Asks Idaho Lawmakers For $15 Million Down Payment On Dams, Water Study

This is an historic image of the Arrowrock Dam on the Boise River. It was constructed between 1911-1915.
Credit WaterArchives / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter aims to build billions of dollars in new or expanded Idaho dams, to capture more water in his state's drought-stricken southern desert for crops, cities and flushing endangered salmon to the sea.

He's asking lawmakers to give him $15 million down payment for, among other things, studying whether a new era of dam building make sense, given somebody will have to pay for it.

One project he's pushing, a new Weiser River dam, could be used for everything from flood control to electricity.

But activist groups are skeptical, saying the project would have been built during Idaho's dam-building heyday — had it made financial sense.

Idaho Power, the state's biggest utility, said Tuesday it's monitoring whether new dams fit its hydroelectric system on the Snake River.