WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Russ Fulcher introduced the Aquifer Recharge Flexibility Act, legislation to improve aquifer levels in Idaho and across western states by expanding the ability for aquifer recharge through federal lands and facilities. The bill will fortify efforts to recharge Idaho’s vast Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer to healthy levels for sustainable long-term use by the state’s farmers, ranchers, and communities.
“Water is the life blood, not only for our agricultural sector, but also for our entire state," Fulcher said. "Idaho is fortunate to have a state-wide plan and coordination for management of this critical resource. This legislation will complement our ongoing efforts for aquifer recharge and sustainability by facilitating federal land access and cooperation.”
“The Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer sustains millions of irrigated acres in the Snake River Basin with the water needed for Idaho’s agriculture industry to thrive,” said Risch. “This legislation will remove bureaucratic barriers to effective aquifer recharge and will help restore the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer, one of the biggest in the world, back to healthy levels for decades to come.”
Upon the bill’s introduction, Paul Arrington, the executive director of the Idaho Water Users Association, released the following statement:
“Aquifer recharge is a valuable tool used throughout the west to address declining ground and surface water supplies. In Idaho, the stakeholders are committed to using aquifer recharge in their efforts to restore depleted aquifers and connected rivers and streams. Unfortunately, many optimal aquifer recharge locations in Idaho require the use of federal property - requiring congressional authorizations and federal easements. This legislation will help to reduce the cost and expense of continuing recharge in Idaho. We appreciate Senator Risch and Representative Fulcher’s support of the Idaho water user community.”
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