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Idaho Department of Water Resources Director Gary Spackman on April 30 issued an order predicting 40,500-acre-foot shortfall to senior-priority surface water rights in the Eastern Snake Plain for the 2021 irrigation season.

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Farmers in northeast Oregon have completed the second of three new water pipelines tapping into the Columbia River, part of an ambitious plan to boost the region's agricultural economy while simultaneously relieving pressure on badly stressed groundwater aquifers.

The Legislature trimmed $3.6 million in general funds from the Oregon Water Resources Department, or OWRD. That's 7% of the department's $51 million operating budget.

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Preliminary results of a five-year study in the Harney Basin of southeast Oregon show groundwater is being pumped faster than it can be replenished, and farms will likely need to start using less in order to stabilize shrinking aquifers.