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Water users oppose takeover efforts

Published on January 8, 2013 3:01AM

Last changed on February 5, 2013 2:52PM


Capital Press

The Idaho Water Users Association has come out against the City of Caldwell's efforts to condemn a portion of the Pioneer Irrigation District.

The city filed a complaint for condemnation in an eminent domain lawsuit against Pioneer on Nov. 26.

The association says a "hostile" taking of water rights and irrigation facilities by the government is unprecedented in Idaho and is a direct attack on Idaho irrigation water.

IWUA's resolution committee voted to take action at its Dec. 18 meeting in Twin Falls. The resolution is being formulated for review by top water attorneys in the state and will be considered by IWUA's membership during the organization's annual meeting Jan. 22-24 in Boise.

"The committee believes this is an issue with serious potential consequences for our entire state and its agricultural economic base as well as other irrigation water users," said Norm Semanko, IWUA executive director.

The condemnation, which seeks the forced takeover of water rights and critical water infrastructure, is a direct attack on Idaho irrigation, he said.

Resolutions give staff specific instructions as to what to do regarding issues relevant to IWUA, he said.

That could mean authorization to participate in litigation or submit comments when water issues are being considered by the Legislature or government agencies, he said.

While that might not be the case in the issue with Pioneer and the city of Caldwell, a resolution would likely lead to IWUA making people aware of the situation, he said.


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