Water Recharge Bill Goes Down the Drain



By Kim Bartlett

Lawmakers in the Senate have voted down a bill that would have helped replenish a depleted aquifer in the eastern part of the state.

House Speaker Bruce Newcomb sponsored the bill that was shot down with a vote of 21 to 14.

The vote was divided between eastern and western Idaho; Newcomb says that dividing line is another sign of the shift in power from lawmakers in the more rural east to the more populated west and north.

Idaho Power fought hard against the bill, saying it would have tapped water it needs to produce electricity.

Farmers in eastern Idaho had maintained the water belongs to the state, and the state should be able to use the water as it sees fit -- including recharging the aquifer.

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