New water district meeting scheduled
by Tim Bondy
Mountain Home News
When the Idaho Department of Water Resources created a local water district earlier this year, it set into motion a series of administrative tasks it needs to address before it could start the business of managing ground water usage in the local area.
One of those tasks was planning for an annual meeting where by-laws will be adopted and district elections will take place.
During a meeting earlier this month, a steering committee voted to hold that annual meeting in Mountain Home at 7 p.m. June 28 at the Hampton Inn and Suites.
The newly formed Mountain Home Area Water District 161, created by orders from the director of IDWR in March, has the stated purpose of measuring and regulating all non-exempt ground water use within its boundaries. However, before the organization can make any official decisions or assess levies on water rights holders, it needs to complete several steps that include appointing a district watermaster at the upcoming meeting.
The new ground water district is centered around the Mountain Home area but extends from roughly the Mayfield area in the west to the Glenns Ferry area to the east. IDWR estimates the new water district will encompass roughly 460 wells and ground water rights, including all eight active wells in Mountain Home's water system.
Domestic ground water users and stockwater right holders inside the district boundaries remain exempt from joining the district. However, officials cautioned those users should research Idaho Code 42-111 to determine their exemption status.
The water district steering committee created earlier this year consists of two local government agency officials and an assortment of water rights holders, including David Ascuena, Bud Corbus, Mike Curtis, Larry Jewett, Wayne Shepherd and John Kiefer. This was the first and likely the only meeting involving that steering committee.
The committee provided IDWR officials Tim Luke, Nick Miller and Rob Whitney with inputs and ideas of how to set up and administer the new water district.
According to Luke, all known water rights holders will be sent an official notice of the meeting within the next week. He added that all affected users should consider attending the event.
At that meeting, all non-exempt water rights members will have the opportunity to help elect the district's first watermaster and possibly adopt a budget for the taxing district. They will also help select a water district advisory committee. That committee will be responsible for providing guidance to the watermaster and other district employees. For details, call Luke at 287-4959 or go online to www.idwr.idaho.gov.