Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Plan would split irrigation district

County to review proposal to separate canal users into 2 groups


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

A plan has been proposed to split the Irrigation District No. 45 into two entities. Express file photo

    The Blaine County Commission on Tuesday, Aug. 5, will review a petition to divide the Wood River Valley Irrigation District No. 45 into two separate irrigation districts. The public hearing will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the new County Courthouse annex in Hailey.
    “New legislation passed [in 2013] allowing this [partition] to happen,” said County Commissioner Angenie McCleary. “This is the first irrigation district using it.”
    McCleary said the Blaine County Commission will read the petition to see that it meets criteria for approval. Included in that criteria is a requirement that those petitioning for separation account for at least 50 percent of the canal system’s water use.
    The No. 45 Irrigation District serves about 125 property owners in southern Blaine County. The petition, initiated by a small group of large landowners, seeks to create a new, 6,000-acre irrigation district out of the current 9,400-acre one, leaving numerous “small” users with the remaining No. 45 District.
    Presenting in favor of the petition at a County Commission meeting last month, John Fell Stevenson of Hillside Ranch in Bellevue said “agriculture users” and “residential water users” on the canal system differ regarding its the operation and purpose.
    “There has been much discussion and acrimony,” Stevenson said.
    Jim Super, president of the board of directors of the No. 45 Irrigation District, said in an interview that a group of smaller water users have organized to fight the partition, in part because the separation could privilege a small group of bigger consumers with increased control over the irrigation system.
    Super said the large property owners on the district also include Sarah Gardner, Tom O’Gara and Pepin Corso-Harris.    
    Super said the existing single district has been effective at reducing costs and delivering water to users and that by staying together they could better face the mitigation issues and other circumstances that will likely affect them all when conjunctive water rights management is applied to the Wood River Valley.
    Conjunctive water rights management is when surface water rights and groundwater rights are administered together. Under conjunctive management, older, surface water rights are given precedence over more junior groundwater sources during dry spells.    
    “Personality differences should not absorb the district,” said Brett Stevenson, speaking for the family of John Stevenson.
     “Our intention is simple: an irrigation district that provides efficient delivery and fair assessments with civility. At this point it seems that two districts are more capable of achieving this.”    
Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads





Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.