Q: How are farmers getting away with watering the road?
A: “It is not allowed in the city limits as it is wasting water,” said Twin Falls Code Enforcement Coordinator Sean Standley. “The county has an enforcement officer that handles this in the county.”
“We don’t intentionally allow farmers to water the road,” said Ken Baisch, Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office code enforcement deputy. “Idaho Code 18-3908 and Twin Falls County Code 6-1-2 give the penalty for watering and/or flooding the roadway. As the code enforcement deputy, I respond to reports as well as patrol the area to find offenders.
“The farmer is contacted and asked to make adjustments to the system or fix a ditch problem. When it is a sprinkler system, each pivot is addressed individually. Numerous reports in the area are sometimes different pivots. Other times there are mechanical or electronic causes for the end guns to fail to shut off or turn on early. The electronic sensors are pressure sensitive and debris in the water can cause sensors to fail as well as power surges and weather.
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“I have taken reports where the reporting party feels that the farmer is intentionally watering the roadways and I have never found that to be the case. No farmer wants to spend money watering something that they can’t harvest and they usually don’t know they are doing it. I have had numerous occasions when I have called and been told that end gun should be off,” Baisch said.
“The last issue is the wind. ... Sometimes the wind will carry the water where it’s not wanted.”
According to Idaho Code, if found guilty of an infraction on the first offense, it’s a misdemeanor and can have a fine of $50. The second offense, fine and costs double. However according to Twin Falls County’s general penalty, the offender may be fined $300 for any offense and may be confined in jail for six months. Either or both fine and imprisonment may be imposed.
“The Twin Falls Sheriff’s Department works to keep our roadways safe and if you see an issue, please call SIRCOMM dispatch (208-324-1911) and we will look into the issue,” Baisch said. “The safety of our residents is first priority.”