Idaho Water woes and worries : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

MAY 30, 2001, 12:00 PM Water woes and worries

Many farmers are quickly using up the water they've been allotted this year -- and it isn't even June yet.

Most have back-up resources, but the water comes with a high price -- and worries about next year are plentiful.

Dry ground...dry ditches...and a lot of dust.

Richard Huff, Farmer, "It's a different year."

Summer isn't even here and we're seeing much more sun than rain -- forcing farmers to use up precious water early in the season.

Tom Miles, ABI Alfalfa: "Some guys have run out. They've got well water, they purchase water."

Wells and water right transfers will be a saving grace this year.

We caught up with Richard Huff while he was planting beans near Nampa. He says he has enough water this year thanks to wells and carry over from last year.

Huff, "It's gonna cost us more money and require a different management technique, but we'll make it."

Huff has been farming this land 35 years -- he took it over from his dad -- he farms it with his son.

Huff: "The water usage we do have is more expensive. It's a cost we didn't foresee, but we still have the water."

Prices for the beans Huff is planting are low already -- making that extra cost hit even harder -- and he already has worries for next year.

Huff, "My feelings are, if we don't have enough snowpack, there may not be any farming in certain areas."

But for many, working to manage this year's water woes is enough without having to worry about next year.

Farmers such as Richard Huff are also using high-tech ways to stretch water supplies. They add a chemical to the water, which makes the ground more absorbent --so they can use less water. But again, it's an added cost.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 31, 2001

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