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Washington, D.C. – In a hearing today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved S. 1570, the Aquifer Recharge Flexibility Act, for consideration by the full Senate.  The bill, sponsored by U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), would ease restrictions to allow for aquifer recharge through federal lands and facilities. The bill cleared the committed by voice vote.

“Idaho doesn’t always get the credit it is due, but we have truly been on the cutting edge with aquifer recharge,” Risch said.  “Our coordinated efforts exceed projections year after year. With that said, we know we need more tools to manage our water resources. This bill is designed to provide flexibility to augment and amplify Idaho’s recharge efforts and provide further pathways for the recharge of aquifers across the West.”

The bill was crafted with the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer in Eastern Idaho in mind, one of the largest aquifers in the world.

Representative Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) sponsored the House version of the bill, H.R. 2871

Background: Efforts are currently underway by a broad group of stakeholders to recharge the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer, and those early efforts have been largely successful.  However, bureaucratic barriers hinder effective recharge of this aquifer and others. The Aquifer Recharge Flexibility Act will cut red tape and expand recharge capabilities on federal property to help restore the aquifer back to healthy levels for sustainable long-term use by farmers, ranchers, and other users across Idaho.