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Bellevue-area water curtailment removed
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Bellevue-area water curtailment removed

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Little Wood River Reservoir

The Little Wood River Reservoir near Carey.

BELLEVUE — Officials have lifted a water curtailment for certain groundwater users in the Wood River Valley.

Idaho Speaker Scott Bedke released a statement Thursday announcing a settlement between surface water users with senior rights on the Little Wood River and groundwater users with junior rights in the Bellevue Triangle.

The Idaho Department of Water Resources and Gov. Brad Little announced the agreement Friday. The agreement allows farmers and ranchers in the Bellevue Triangle to resume pumping groundwater for their crops.

“Today is a good day, because Idahoans came together to solve that problem,” Bedke said in his statement.

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The agreement has three components, the governor said in his statement.

The plan requires groundwater irrigation users to provide 23 cubic feet per second of flow to the Little Wood River, measured at the Milner-Gooding Canal crossing, Little said. Secondly, groundwater users were required to acquire water storage rights for 2,500 acre-feet, and thirdly, groundwater users’ irrigation season in the area will end early with some exceptions.

The storage water rights were acquired prior to water resources Director Gary Spackman’s signature on the agreement. Twin Fall Canal Co. donated 1,000 acre-feet of water. Jay Barlogi, general manager, said the donation won’t affect their stockholders.

“We thought it was the right thing to do,” Barlogi said.

Groundwater users are also required to work with surface water users and the Big Wood Ground Water Management Area Advisory Committee to create a Ground Water Management Plan for long-term management of the Wood River Valley Aquifer. This plan must be submitted by Dec. 1

The curtailment stood for seven days before officials reached an agreement.

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