Water, water everywhere and not a drop to irrigate

City, farmers deal with water curtailment

by Daniel Moore

Press Staff Writer

Area farmers are curtailing groundwater use as the City of American Falls prepares for cutbacks. The curtailment is part of an agreement with the state to restore the aquifer that runs from Ashton to Twin Falls.

Local farmers that are members of the American Falls – Aberdeen Groundwater District are cutting back 12.4 percent on average. American Falls – Aberdeen Groundwater District Chair Nick Behrend said if farmers cut back as they are supposed to, they should meet criteria for the next water year.

“The key is, everybody needs to focus on doing their part for the district,” Behrend said.

However, there is no telling how good the result of cutting back will be. Wells in the desert measure the aquifer, and, according to the agreement, curtailments are based on the levels in those wells, Behrend said. They will not know how well they did until the end of the water season, he said.

It is up to each individual farmer to figure out how to reduce that much water.

There are a variety of methods employed to reduce water usage, and some farms can offset their curtailment by recharging the aquifer.

The City of American Falls joined the groundwater district earlier this year. Joining the groundwater district made the curtailment for the city less than it would be without the membership….

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