Idaho officials want to cap hundreds of artesian wells

Posted at 4:37 PM, Jan 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-14 18:37:21-05

BOISE — Lawmakers have advanced legislation to help state officials cap what are thought to be hundreds of artesian wells across southern Idaho in a plan that could help irrigators and a federally protected snail.

The Senate Resources and Environment Committee on Monday unanimously approved moving ahead with legislation that will alter a 1987 law with an expired cost-sharing provision.

Idaho Department of Water Resources Director Gary Spackman says the change is needed to boost pressure in aquifers and avoid confusion about whether the state will pay for capping wells on private land.

Spackman says capping wells will avoid wasting water and could help the Bruneau hot springsnail.

The snail lives in thermal springs in the Bruneau River in southwestern Idaho.

The species was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1993.