We've written numerous articles in the past about the water situation here in Elmore County, but it's something that cannot be talked about enough.
During springs like this when it feels a little more like we are in the Pacific Northwest then a high desert with the amount of water we have received it is hard to imagine we are critically low on water. Our reservoirs are full and the hills are green, so I’m sure people think things can’t be that bad.
However, things really are that bad. Our aquifers are losing water at a rate of 40,000 CFS a year. A deficit that is not sustainable long term. Our current County Commissioners decided a few years ago to take substantial steps to do something to stop the draining and start rebuilding our water supply. They have spent countless hours and a lot of money to work through this issue and it has been an uphill fight with the Treasure Valley fighting us for water every step of the way.
We are beginning to see positive gains being made, but the battle is far from over.
I am currently working on an article about a recent joint meeting of the commissioners, the City of Mountain Home and the Mountain Home Irrigation District about the water situation. I did not have time to turn it around for this week's issue, but it will be available next week, I strongly encourage all of you to read it and really think about what it is going to take from the whole community to make these current projects work.
The commissioners are doing an amazing job in this area and have pulled off historic wins in a 'David vs. Goliath' type of match up with the big dogs to the west. But it is time for others to truly step up to the plate and join them in this battle. Up until now, members of the city government and the irrigation district have been supportive of the projects and have even spoken at contentious hearings on the county's behalf, but it is time to do more.
The commissioners held the joint meeting to ask both entities to officially join them going forward in this process with the thought process that we are stronger together.
Mountain Home Irrigation District and the City of Mountain Home are in total agreement that something needs to be done about the water issues, however, some of them seem hesitant to fully get into the battle. A lot of this could be based on financial reasons, water studies and legal fees that have already racked up a significant amount. Some of those were paid for with grants from the Idaho Department of Water Resources, but a big chunk of the bill has fallen on the county’s shoulders.
The county is prepared to go forward alone, to keep paying the bills and looking for grants and other resources when available. They have come too far and worked too hard to make the gains they have had, to stop now, but, they need the other groups’ support.
To our city and the irrigation district: it is time to step up and join the county. Water is the most pressing issue in this county please join our commissioners, who have worked tirelessly these last few years, to finally do something about this. Don’t allow your lack of support to send us backwards on water.
To our commissioners: thank you for working so hard to finally stop the draining and for fighting for the citizens of Elmore County and our future.