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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo and Representatives Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher (all R-Idaho) today urged the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to correct their interpretation of a law designed to enable aquifer recharge.

“The BLM’s current interpretation of the [ Aquifer Recharge Flexibility Act] precludes the [Idaho Water Resources Board (IWRB)] from using existing rights of way for aquifer recharge purposes. Further, it goes against the spirit of the plain language of the Act,” the delegation wrote. “[. . .T]his interpretation severely limits the ability of aquifer recharge to be an effective water conservation tool not only in Idaho, but in states across the West who may look to follow Idaho’s example.”

The Aquifer Recharge Flexibility Act was introduced in the 116th Congress by Risch and Fulcher and became law in 2020. Last month, Senator Risch welcomed Al Barker, a member of the IWRB, to discuss BLM’s misinterpretation of the law before the Water and Power Subcommittee. The IWRB’s aquifer recharge efforts are critical for agriculture, hydropower, recreation, drinking water, and more.

The full letter can be read here.

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