This really isn’t a shock or surprise. It seems the logical end conclusion: The shutdown of water used by junior water users when senior users weren’t getting their flow. That’s the way the western appropriation system of water rights works.
You can pick up the undercurrent of dread, from the attorneys (even those seeking the shutdowns) and from the 5th District judge, John Melanson, who issued the order. Nobody wanted the result. But the water isn’t there, and the law is the law. A temporary restraining order blocking the shutdowns – lasting only until the judge was able to review the case – was removed on Wednesday. Next step is a meeting with Dave Tuthill, the director of the Idaho Department of Water Resources, who ordered the curtailment. (There too, he had scant choice.)
The Twin Falls Times News has posted video of the arguments in court yesterday on the water curtailment case, alongside an unusually blunt story about the impacts: “even if a hearing is scheduled, it could take between two and seven weeks to complete. That’s a long time for farmers, most of whom have already planted their fields. Those irrigators will now have to wait even longer to find out if their crops will be harvested come fall or die without water in the Idaho sun. . . . In their arguments, pumpers said they’ll lose tens of millions of dollars if the state shuts down their wells. But trout farmers say they’re losing money every day without access to water owed to them by pumpers.”
No easy answers. Looks like a long summer.Share on Facebook