Gov. Little applauds successful negotiations to avoid eastern Idaho water curtailment

Thursday June 20, 2024

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little issued the following statement today after all groundwater districts became compliant with an approved mitigation plan following successful negotiations with the senior water rights holders in the Surface Water Coalition. This avoids the need to curtail water for the 2024 irrigation season.

“Just like we’ve done over and over, Idahoans came together, resolved differences, and found a path forward to protect farmers and our supply of water for the year.

"All along, our goal has been to comply with the law, which includes the Idaho Constitution, Idaho Code, and the approved mitigation plans agreed to and entered by Idaho’s water users, while ensuring farmers have the water they need in every part of the state.

“I have heard repeated calls for me to step in and stop Director Weaver from moving forward in administering the law. Doing so would violate the Idaho Constitution and create a risk of handing control of our water over to the state courts, or worse the federal courts, or worst U.S. Congress. Instead, we chose to work together on a solution.

“I sincerely appreciate all the stakeholders and user groups for their hard work. I especially want to thank Lt. Governor Scott Bedke, a widely recognized technical expert in water, for answering my call to assist in the negotiations. Lt. Governor Bedke proved once again he is a leader who can bring folks together and find a workable solution.

Our farmers and ranchers in every part of the Eastern Snake Plain who were facing water uncertainty this irrigation season deserved our undivided time and attention to find a solution. That is why I’m so proud of everyone involved in this process. I knew when we put everyone in the room, we could do this and get it done.

"However, we recognize we still have a lot of hard work to do. We will be okay for this year, but we all agree we need a better plan in the out years to protect our farmers and ensure Idaho maintains our water sovereignty. We remain committed to working with all water users in Idaho to ensure we have a sustainable supply of water for this generation and future generations,” Governor Little said.