Several groundwater basins throughout Idaho have aquifers that are declining. The largest of these aquifers is the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer (ESPA). As a result of water right calls and the desire to understand the parameters of the ESPA it is necessary to determine the amount of groundwater pumped each year. Water Well Consultants, Inc. is currently contracted with several groundwater and irrigation districts in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (ESPA) to measure and maintain pumping records for all groundwater wells within each district.
Many districts are responsible to senior groundwater right holders for mitigating groundwater use. The mitigation efforts are described in Mitigation Plans. Water Well Consultants, Inc., is involved in writing and implementing the mitigation activities for some of the districts. Efforts include measurement programs including depth to water measurements, soft conversions (utilizing surface water in lieu of groundwater), voluntarily idling legally righted acres, and recharge. The best results are to implement the mitigation activities to ensure the mitigation is sufficient and the senior water right holders are amenable to accepting the plans.
Water Well Consultants, Inc. is also involved in similar activities within basins not involved in the ESPA water right calls. The activities are ongoing in these districts to reverse the slope of declining aquifers.
Some groundwater districts have "critical groundwater areas" within their boundaries. Critical groundwater areas were established in the mid 1960's resulting from studies performed by the United States Geological Survey. These areas were specified by the USGS due to declining groundwater levels. Districts containing critical groundwater areas are required to submit a Groundwater Management Plan within 2 years following the end of the Snake River Basin General Adjudication. A Groundwater Management Plan implements activities to reverse the declining groundwater levels. Without an approved plan many water rights will be involuntarily curtailed. Water Well Consultants, Inc. is writing and implementing activities for these management plans.
Water Well Consultants, Inc. believes there is enough surface and groundwater to continue irrigating at the current quantities if the water resources are managed properly.