Irrigation

John Miller

The Owyhee Project provides water from the Owyhee Reservoir to almost 1,800 farms in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon. But despite ample snow and rain this winter, the irrigation district will charge $4 more per acre for water this season.

That’s because the irrigation system is in need of repairs, according to the Capital Press newspaper. The Owyhee project was built in 1932 and is close to reaching its expected life span.

Jim Jones

Before he was a member of the Idaho Supreme Court, Jim Jones was part of the biggest water fight in the Gem State’s modern history. Jones has a new book out that chronicles that time.

Jones was elected to the first of two terms as Idaho Attorney general in 1982. Not long after he started the job, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a decision that reversed 30 years of policy and essentially gave Idaho Power priority of control over much of the water in the Snake River.

NMID

Water will start flowing through Boise’s irrigation canals starting next Monday. The Treasure Valley’s largest irrigation district says they expect to have plenty of water this season.

For 112 years, the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District has been providing irrigation water to the Treasure Valley. Next week’s launch of the irrigation season will be the 113th consecutive year for the District.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

There’s a legal fight going on over control of water in the Treasure Valley. The rhetoric in the fight has been intense. One side even has an ad campaign. 

Imagine a movie-theater preview voice comes up over cheery music reminiscent of a babbling brook. 

“Irrigation water, it makes the Treasure Valley a lush green miracle instead of a desert landscape. Imagine a typical 105 degree summer day. Now imagine your irrigation water is completely shut off to your lawn, garden, farm or favorite park.” The music stops.

Nicholas D. / Flickr

In 50 years, the Treasure Valley will need three times the water it currently uses. That’s according to a new study commissioned by the Idaho Water Resource Board.

The board is looking at how to meet current and future water needs in the valley.

Brian Patton is chief of the board’s Planning Bureau. He says the population is likely to grow from 600,000 people to 1.57 million, and all those people will need more water.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A good year of snow and cold weather in the mountains has given water managers throughout the state some much-needed good news. Right now, the threat of drought seems distant. 

 

jah / Flickr

The District that keeps irrigation water flowing to Ada and Canyon County has sent out a final warning to 83 people to pay up or face losing their homes.

The Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District (NMID) provides irrigation water to 69,000 acres of farmland, homes and commercial property. Every year, it charges property owners a tax, to pay for upkeep on the canals, laterals, drains and dams in the water system. Many owners don’t realize they owe the tax, even if they don’t use the irrigation water.

Don Barrett / Flickr Creative Commons

Southwest Idaho stands out in bright red on the most recent drought map. The color signifies the area is in extreme drought. Jay Chamberlin of the Owyhee Irrigation District says that's not surprising, given the lack of snowpack last winter.

Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District

As summer temperatures heat up the Treasure Valley, many homeowners turn to their irrigation district to water their lawn. These districts crisscross  the Valley, but the largest is the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District (NMID). And NMID says its tax time.

WaterArchives.org / Flickr

Arrowrock Dam is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. “It was a monumental effort,” says Kelsey Doncaster. He’s been studying the dam as a historian with the Bureau of Reclamation Columbia Cascades area office in Yakima, Washington.

He says it’s a marvel of engineering that keeps irrigation canals in the Treasure Valley full, while controlling flooding of the Boise River.

The Roza Irrigation District in Eastern Washington’s Yakima Valley is shutting off the water for two weeks because of drought. About a billion dollars in crops are on the line.

Idaho water managers say they are conducting negotiations to prevent mass water shutoffs from Jerome to Idaho Falls even though a final deal could result in long-term farming changes for southern Idaho irrigators.

The Capital Press reports that groundwater irrigators have fallen short in providing enough water to two canal companies.

The canal companies are owed nearly 89,000 acre-feet of water because they own senior water rights. Senior water rights take priority in Idaho.

Laura Gilmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Farmers in the Owyhee Basin are bracing for a very difficult summer season because this is the second year of an extreme drought.

The largely agricultural area along the border of Idaho and Oregon gets water from the Owyhee Reservoir, which is at just 27 percent of normal capacity. A dry and warm winter made replenishing the water supply difficult.

Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District

The bill you received in mid-October if you live in the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District is coming due later this month.

Officials are reminding the district’s 38,000 property owners that they have until Dec. 20 to pay the first installment of their irrigation tax bill.

But a more dire reminder has gone out to the owners of 99 properties in the district who are as much as three years behind in their payments.

Irrigation district Secretary-Treasurer Daren Coon says final notices, a follow-up to certified letters that were mailed in August, are now in the mail.

How Fish Screens Help Farmers And Save Fish

Jun 3, 2013
Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

If proper equipment isn’t installed on irrigation pipes and pumps, fish can get sucked into farmers’ fields and drainage ditches. That clogs pipes and kills fish. A new fish screen was just installed on a Central Washington River to prevent this from happening. It's the first of its kind in the state.

When migrating fish and debris get sucked into farmers’ pipes and ditches, it’s bad news for farmers and for fish.

“If a fish goes into a ditch, it’s unlikely it will turn around and get out. It typically will die there.”