Times-News: Critical $4 Million Water Pipeline Being Turned On Today

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This morning's Twin Falls Times-News reports that a much-needed water pipe is expected to be turned on by 5 p.m. Friday, following a massive water call—or demand for additional water—across 157,000 acres of the Magic Valley.

Rangen, which has operated a fish farm near Hagerman since 1963, owns senior water rights in an area that encompasses 14 cities and hundreds of businesses. In January 2014 it made a call on its water rights to recharge its diminished spring-water supply. But the Idaho Ground Water Appropriators scrambled to reach a deal to deliver water through a new $4 million pipe in order to avoid a curtailment.

Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke told the Times-News that the pipe was in place and was tested on Feb. 5. 

"This is very good news for the Magic Valley," Bedke told the Times-News, adding that any curtailment would have impacted countless communities, schools, fire districts and huge businesses. "It would have been a financial disaster to the revenue of the state of Idaho."

Among the hundreds of "junior" water rights owners that were at risk included Idaho Power, the J.R. Simplot Company, the Valley and Jerome school districts and Amalgamated Sugar.