A special legislative panel is beginning its search today for a permanent solution to stave off a water war in southern Idaho.
The committee's efforts are part of a program to find a way to reverse the falling water table north of the Middle Snake River. The low levels are denying commercial fish hatcheries and other surface users their full water rights.
Four years of drought and the increasing number of wells sunk into the aquifer by irrigators, dairies and others are being blamed. The state is putting up $2 million to provide replacement water for the hatcheries this year and help users find more efficient ways to use the limited water resource.
The formation of the panel delays the closing of 1,300 wells that would have created an economic crisis reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Source: The Associated Press