Idaho water managers say they are conducting negotiations to prevent mass water shutoffs from Jerome to Idaho Falls even though a final deal could result in long-term farming changes for southern Idaho irrigators.
The Capital Press reports that groundwater irrigators have fallen short in providing enough water to two canal companies.
The canal companies are owed nearly 89,000 acre-feet of water because they own senior water rights. Senior water rights take priority in Idaho.
An acre foot is enough water to cover an acre one foot deep.
The two parties are conducting emergency meetings to find a solution, with both sides agreeing to exclude their attorneys from attending.
One possible option would enforce pumping changes to reduce overall water use by irrigators even in plentiful water years.