Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke kicked off the 2019 session by introducing legislation addressing the water concerns on the Boise River Basin, known as Basin 63. The Ways and Means Committee agreed to introduce what will now become House Bill 1 (HB 1).
This first piece of legislation addresses water storage and fill of the Boise River Reservoir System after a flood release. Specifics include how the Idaho Department of Water Resources will account for stored water, following the release for flood control -- and if that water is released, how will those with water rights be satisfied.
“HB1 is good public policy that addresses the serious concerns of water users in the Boise River Basin but, even more specifically, it outlines the role of the Idaho Department of Water Resources director in authorizing water rights for new water storage. This issue has been discussed and litigated extensively. HB1 is part of a solution,” Bedke said. “Water, water rights, and water storage are incredibly sensitive and challenging issues -- so ensuring we are proactive in protecting Idaho’s storage rights is vital.”
HB 1 will now head to the House Resources and Conservation Committee for a full hearing.