On May 30, 2024, Idaho Department of Water Resources Director Mathew Weaver issued a curtailment order affecting 6,400 junior groundwater rights holders who pump from the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.

The timing of this curtailment is challenging for irrigators, as most farmers and ranchers have already planted crops and incurred significant expenses by this point in the irrigation season. In contrast, Nevada State Engineers attempt to notify water users about potential curtailments as early as possible to avoid unnecessary expenses if there is inadequate water. (See the 2014 and 2015 Mason and Smith Valley Curtailment Orders).

The response to the curtailment considers these factors. The article below provides a basis for opposition to the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer curtailment order.

For more details, you can read the original article here.

A couple of points to monitor in this situation:

• What is the “new” or changed methodology to estimate shortfalls and determine curtailments? In 2009, the Nevada Legislature enacted a declaration requiring the State Engineer to consider the best available science in rendering decisions about available surface and underground sources.
• Will this result in litigation, legislative action, or more refined mitigation plans?

At Facque Consulting, we stay abreast of water rights developments and provide expert advice to help you navigate these complex situations. Contact us for support and strategies tailored to your water management needs.

Photo Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

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