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Controversial Aquifer Recharge Plan Plugged by IDWR


A controversial plan to recharge the Big Wood aquifer and sell mitigation credits, criticized by both the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Idaho Conservation League, has been shot down by the Idaho Department of Water Resources.

This morning's Idaho Mountain Express reports the idea, crafted by a private company managed by former IDWR Director David Tuthill, was shot down by Tuthill's former agency. His plan was to divert water from the Big Wood River into property in Hailey and south of Bellevue, letting the water seep into the ground. The company would then sell water-mitigation rights to irrigators who may face water calls from senior water rights holders.

But IDFG and ICL argued that the plan would have adverse impact on fish and wildlife habitat. The city of Hailey also joined in the opposition.

Ultimately, the IDWR ruled the private diversion plan never obtained required permissions to use the property at points of diversion or recharge.