BOISE • The Idaho Water Resource Board is actively securing the financing for a $34 million buyout of three Thousand Springs fish farms by a group of Idaho water districts.
A bond sale to fund the deal is set to conclude Feb. 8, after which the water board will loan the proceeds to the districts making the purchase, Brian Patton, planning bureau chief for the Idaho Department of Water Resources, told state legislators Wednesday.
The Aberdeen-American Falls, Bingham, Magic Valley and North Snake groundwater districts plan to purchase the Blue Lakes Trout, Clear Lakes Trout and Rim View Trout fish farms and their associated water rights. That will give the water districts the resources to solve current and future water calls by senior water users.
The districts will repay the $34 million to the water board over the next 20 years, Patton said.
“It’s been a monumental effort to get to this point,” Patton said.
One last buyer may still join the deal. Members of the Southwest Irrigation District are set to vote on their participation on Feb. 7.
During Wednesday’s presentation before the House Resources and Conservation Committee, interim IDWRDirector Gary Spackman praised the efforts of the water board and all the players involved in securing the deal.