ESPA Oct 2006 Twin Falls CDR Presentation FINAL

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ESPA Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan: 

ESPA Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan Facilitation of a Framework for Presentation to the 2007 Idaho Legislature Public Meeting Presentation by CDR Associates Jonathan Bartsch and Diane Tate October 11, 18 and 19, 2006

Goals of Presentation: 

Goals of Presentation Provide an overview of the ESPA Introduce ESPA Framework Process Discuss roles – facilitation team, Board, stakeholders Receive input from the public Identify next steps

Three Public Meetings: 

Three Public Meetings Wednesday, October 11th Pocatello, Highland High School Wednesday, October 18th Twin Falls, KMVT Community Room Thursday, October 19th Idaho Falls, Civic Auditorium

Agenda : 

Agenda Why this Process? Overview of the ESPA Overview of the Framework process Discussion of Roles Opportunities for Engagement Themes heard during interviews Emerging elements of a Framework Questions and Discussion

Why this Process?: 

Why this Process? Senate Concurrent Resolution 136 “These (disputing) parties are negotiating a framework for settlement that makes it critical that the State of Idaho Water Resource Board establish public policy with regard to the future management of the aquifer system” First phase – develop a Framework and present to 2007 Legislature Second phase – Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan

Overview of the ESPA: 

Overview of the ESPA Located within the Upper Snake River Basin The Upper Snake River Basin encompasses all or part of 20 counties, and approximately 35% of Idaho’s land area (29,000 square miles) The Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer (ESPA) underlies approximately 10,000 square miles, or 13% of the State of Idaho

Aquifer Characteristics: 

Aquifer Characteristics Layered basalt, thousands of feet thick in some places General direction of ground water flow: northeast to southwest Hydraulically connected to the river Two major aquifer discharge areas: American Falls (about 2 MAF/yr) Thousand Springs (about 4 MAF/yr)


ESPA discharge to Snake River at Thousand Springs ESPA discharge to Snake River at American Falls

What Recharges the Aquifer?: 

What Recharges the Aquifer? Direct precipitation Underflow from tributary basins Seepage from streams overlying the aquifer Leakage from canals Deep percolation of excess irrigation water

Who Uses the Aquifer?: 

Who Uses the Aquifer? Municipal and domestic water wells Agriculture – irrigation with groundwater Agriculture – irrigation with surface water that is fed by spring discharge into river Springs – aquaculture and other uses Commercial/Industrial wells Tourism – “Thousand Springs” and other attractions Wildlife/environmental benefits

Why Manage the Aquifer?: 

Why Manage the Aquifer? Is there a problem? Does the aquifer need management? Water availability varies, but demand stays relatively constant Growth (population, industry) may put additional pressure on water supplies

Why Manage the Aquifer?: 

Why Manage the Aquifer? Groundwater levels declining Shortage in available water for some users Example: Decline in spring flows in the Thousand Springs reach Need for establishment of public policy for management of the aquifer to help resolve ongoing disputes

Overview of the Framework Process: 

Overview of the Framework Process Project Launch in August Initial interviews with stakeholders in September Public meetings in October October/November: Facilitation team drafts Framework with stakeholder input Public meetings in December to get reactions and comments Presentation to Legislature in January


Roles Idaho Water Resource Board Facilitation Team Department of Water Resources STAKEHOLDERS

Link to Decision Making: 

Link to Decision Making Framework decisions Identify goals and alternatives Determine level of management – minimal, modest, and aggressive alternatives Funding strategies and fee structure Interim implementation measures Decision makers – the Board

Outreach to Stakeholders: 

Outreach to Stakeholders Contacted over 90 individuals and groups Water users: spring, surface, groundwater Groundwater districts, canal companies, irrigation districts State and federal agencies Local government/municipalities Water-dependent industry & local business Environment and wildlife Tribes More that we missed?

Opportunities for Engagement: 

Opportunities for Engagement Public Meetings Comment forms Direct contact with Facilitation team by email, phone, individual or small group meetings Website:

Themes from Interviews: 

Themes from Interviews General areas of agreement Widely held but not unanimous opinions Divergent views Issues with a range of opinions and outstanding questions Emerging Framework elements A first glance at possible issues to be addressed in the Framework

General Areas of Agreement: 

General Areas of Agreement The times have changed Farm practices and farm economics Aquifer levels and discharges The aquifer needs management What does management entail? What is the goal of management? Ensuring implementation of the Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan is critical

General Areas of Agreement: 

General Areas of Agreement The Model – significance tied to the way it is used Recharge is important and supported, but won’t solve the problem Political, physical, technical, legal and financial hurdles exist CREP is a good start but it won’t solve the problem either

General Areas of Agreement: 

General Areas of Agreement Strained relationships Some issues cannot be resolved through a management plan What are the options to address localized, individual impacts? Desire to keep water users as whole as possible A “healthy” aquifer benefits everyone in the long term

General Areas of Agreement: 

General Areas of Agreement Funding should come from everyone, including the State Must be put to good use, with results that can be measured (and agreed ways to measure them) Must be fair – different levels for senior/junior, surface/ground/spring? Water will eventually be an issue of concern for the entire state, not just ESPA

Divergent Views: 

Divergent Views The reality and role of the aquifer The “health” of the aquifer Definition of a “healthy” aquifer, and how to measure aquifer health or decline Role of environmental and aesthetic issues in Framework Not a major issue for some stakeholders, but others concerned these issues are not being adequately addressed

Divergent Views: 

Divergent Views Prior appropriation Absolute mandate for curtailment in times of shortage? Implemented within the context of economic development for the state? Curtailment Voluntary and/or involuntary, permanent and/or temporary

Divergent Views: 

Divergent Views Water: an economic good? Should the free market be used to find the “most valuable” use of water? How does the prior appropriation system interact with market valuation? What is fair? Perceptions of equity and equal impact

Emerging Framework Elements: 

Emerging Framework Elements Goals and objectives for aquifer management Management alternatives Funding strategies Interim measures What can we start doing now?

Emerging Framework Elements – Goals and Objectives: 

Emerging Framework Elements – Goals and Objectives Goal: Sustainability Water Budget: Balance supply and demand? Economic sustainability for the region? Keep aquifer level from declining further? Keep spring discharges from declining further? Funding for long term programs? Buying water rights?

Emerging Framework Elements – Goals and Objectives: 

Emerging Framework Elements – Goals and Objectives Goal: Some degree of predictability and equivalent treatment New residential and industrial development interdependent with existing agricultural and other uses Ensure new development water sources make sense given surrounding uses Domestic wells: Monitoring? Ensure continuity/protection of water supply?

Emerging Framework Elements – Management Alternatives: 

Emerging Framework Elements – Management Alternatives Reduction in groundwater pumping Examples: CREP, buyouts (high lift water, etc.), conversion from groundwater to surface water Demand reduction (e.g. Thousand Springs) Recharge

Emerging Framework Elements – Funding Strategies: 

Emerging Framework Elements – Funding Strategies Funding: Something from everyone Statewide sales tax? Political hurdles? State surplus funds? Per acre/share levy for water users in the Eastern Snake Plain? Appropriate State percentage and local percentage?

Emerging Framework Elements – Interim Measures: 

Emerging Framework Elements – Interim Measures 2007 Water Year Recharge Recharge important and supported, but won’t solve the problem Interest in exploring opportunities for recharge within the coming water year Monitoring and data collection

Next Steps: 

Next Steps Develop and refine goals and objectives based on public input Outline draft management alternatives Detail funding principles and level of funding required for management alternatives Identify and refine interim measures

Questions for Discussion: 

Questions for Discussion What issues/concerns do you have related to the process of developing a Framework? What are your thoughts on possible goals for aquifer management? What comments do you have on the management alternatives? How should the ESPA management alternatives be funded? Principles?

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