First bill introduced in Idaho Legislature involves water

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The first bill introduced in the 2019 legislative session addresses a water battle that has been building for years in southwestern Idaho.

Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke of Oakley introduced legislation Tuesday that he says is good policy that addresses serious concerns of water users in the Boise River Basin.

At issue is how much water users are entitled to during snow-heavy years when reservoirs fill and water must be released for flood control. Some water rights holders contend the state is wrongly counting that water against how much irrigators can use. Litigation on the complex issue has been in the courts for years.

The bill introduced by Bedke would change state law to say that any new attempts to store water cannot interfere with existing reservoir storage.

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