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Posts published in “Day: January 12, 2014”

What made the front page


Here's what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Strangers find a plane (Boise Statesman)
Washington legislative session begins (Lewiston Tribune)
Washington's Fagan would change sexual prdator law (Lewiston Tribune)
Dangerous Highway 55 (Nampa Press Tribune)
Extreme drought possible (Nampa Press Tribune)
Online Canyon College hit by state (Nampa Press Tribune)
Malad post office robbery a hoax (Pocatello Journal)
Idaho legislative session starts (Sandpoint Bee)
Community radio station KRFY names new leaders (Sandpoint Bee)
Committees review common core (TF Times News)

Eugene cemetery in bankruptcy court (Eugene Register Guard)
New Klamath Promise coordinator (KF Herald & News)
Not a drought so far, but close (Medford Mail Tribune)
Oil transport trains lightly regulated (Portland Oregonian)
2014 legislature preparations (Salem Statesman Journal)
Alcohol funds apportionment (Salem Statesman Journal)
Statesman Journal says it will add more (Salem Statesman Journal)

Monkey housing Everett (Everett Herald)
Washington legislature ahead (Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Banks rejecting pot industry funds (Kennewick TriCity Herald)
New Pasco prison opens in April (Kennewick TriCity Herald)
Dispute over Richland school letters (Kennewick TriCity Herald)
Real estate prices down (Port Angeles News)
Heavy storm on coast (Port Angeles News)
Rehab for Port Townsend library (Port Angeles News)
Yakima labor dispute hits Supreme Court (Yakima Herald Republic)
Yakamas seek pot ban on some of its land (Yakima Herald Republic)

Water projects

idaho RANDY

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter's state of the state speech last week was mostly a recitation of the familiar – education? Check; wolves? Check – but his reference to $15 million he'd like to spend on water projects seemed a little out of the blue.

“Water sustainability initiative projects”? Doesn't sound very Otter-like.

And 2014 would seem to be a year when water matters settle down: This is likely to be the year a “final decree” is issued in the Snake River Basin Adjudication, which at last nails who has rights to what in Idaho water.

Throw in a few factors from here and there, though, and it does begin to fit.

There is, of course, the growing likelihood that this will be a parched water year.

Another was the reference to water not long after he spoke about economic growth in the Magic Valley. Many businesses setting up in that region either rely on a strong water supply, or rely on other businesses that do.

Idaho and its history are richly woven with water projects, the bulk of them more than 50 years old. The collapse of the last major project, the Teton Dam, seemed to slam the lid on big dams in Idaho.

Bear in mind that, although his proposal for $15 million was singled out in the speech and got a fair amount of media attention, the amount of money is, in context, small. To build a single large dam would cost hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, one of the reasons so few have been built in recent decades. What Otter is proposing are much smaller-scale.

Those include (his budget book says) “acquiring water rights to provide a reliable water supply to Mountain Home Air Force Base ($4 million); conducting studies of the Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer to support the establishment of [city] water rights for long-term needs ($500,000); initiating environmental compliance and land exchange analysis for the Galloway Project ($2 million); completing Arrowrock enlargement and flood control feasibility study ($1.5 million); beginning Island Park Reservoir Enlargement Project ($2.5 million); developing computer infrastructure necessary for the operation of the Water Supply Bank ($500,000); and developing additional managed recharge capacity ($4 million).” (more…)