Water banking is something you’ve probably heard of in stories about California’s drought. The idea is that if you’re a farmer with a water right and have more water than you need for that year, you can sell it to another farmer in the system who needs more.
“Idaho’s actually somewhat on the forefront of water banking," says Neeley Miller of the Idaho Department of Water Resources, "and I think what the board would like to do is enhance those mechanisms.”
Miller wrote the new sustainability policy. Strengthening the existing water banking system is one section of it.
The sustainability strategy was developed with direction from the governor’s office after the state water plan was adopted in 2012. Since then, there have been some restrictions on water users – particularly in the eastern part of the state. Miller says water managers want to balance private property rights with a growing demand for water.
The public still has time to weigh in on the sustainability plan. There’s a meeting in Boise next Tuesday, followed by meetings in Hailey and Twin Falls later this month.
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