Funding to provide irrigation upgrades to the Magic Valley and the Gem State

“The legislature’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Idaho Water Resource Board”
crops being irrigated
crops being irrigated
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 6:16 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Lake Walcott and the Minidoka Dam are two important areas for the Magic Valley’s irrigation system. Now, both are facing upgrades - that’s where the Idaho Water Board comes in.

“We entered into an agreement with the Minidoka Irrigation District where the water board pays for it,” said Brian Patton, the Executive Officer for the Idaho Department of Water Resources. “The water resource board gets to utilize the location in its aquifer recharge program.”

Just over $3,000,000 is being pushed over to a project designed to reroute water from the Snake River to different aquifers in the Minidoka Irrigation District. During wet years, excess Snake River flow will be directed into aquifers for storage. This excess water will then be used to help meet demands during dry years.

“Given that some years are wet, and some years are dry, and some years are in between, we’re not going to meet 250,000-acre-feet every year,” said Patton. “This will help us meet that goal.”

This isn’t the only project happening in our area. To the west in King Hill, upgrades to their system will be occurring as well.

“It will be the instillation of a pump system in the Hammett area,” said Patton. “That would allow them to stop using the elevated concrete flume.”

Not only will this modernize the system, but it will also eliminate maintenance issues they’ve experienced in the past. All-in-all, both projects will cost the water board nearly $5,000,000. Where’s the money coming from though?

“The legislature’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Idaho Water Resource Board,” said Patton.

Federal funds totaling $87,000,000 will allow for these and numerous other projects in the state to be completed, allowing systems to flow more smoothly.

“It’ll help modernize their system, improve their system, make it more effective in delivering irrigation water,” Patton said.