Idaho’s Coming Water Shortage Could Mean The End of Grass Lawns
Idaho's relentless growth is starting to stretch the state's limited natural resources. The state's population has grown to historical levels due to two factors. Many folks are tired of living in a city or state that doesn't represent their beliefs and, along with high taxes, have moved to Idaho to live in a state that champions traditional American values. The second reason for Idaho's growth is the migration of workers who left their homes but not their jobs due to the pandemic. In other words, did any state benefit more from remote workers relocating than Idaho?
As we've discussed for years, Idaho is a mountain desert state. The state has a world-famous irrigation system that has propelled the state to lead the world in potato and sugar beet production. Although, in the past two years, the crops have suffered due to excessive heat and drought conditions.
The water supply has caused some notable Idaho politicians to work on finding a solution before Idaho's water issues reflect current shortages in Colorado, California, and Arizona. You can read our past stories on this issue here and here.
The Treasure Valley continues to see farmer's fields replaced with massive subdivisions that require additional water from finite resources. The issue of senior and junior water rights continues to work its way through various towns, cities, and courtrooms. The state defines a water right as: 'authorization to use water in a prescribed manner, not to own the water itself. Without diversion and beneficial use, there is no water right.'
Will Idaho Run Out Of Water?
The Idaho Capital Sun reported that several homeowners and communities now have to pay for new wells drilled on their property. The continued growth has dried up once reliable older wells. The installation of a new well could cost as much as $20,000.
The report details that three Idaho counties are in danger of an upcoming water shortage. Those counties are Ada, Kootenai, and Teton counties. The report quotes a former Eagle mayor complaining about folks watering their grass. He and another former Eagle elected official say watering lawns don't replenish the aquifer. There is a suggestion that grass should be replaced with something that doesn't require daily watering.
Although Idaho is in the middle of another heatwave, we haven't heard about this issue from the governor's office. We'll continue to keep you updated as this story develops.
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