Clear Springs Foods Inc., Idaho: Curtailment Order

Science Center Objects

In 2009, Snake River Farm, a trout farm owned by Clear Springs Foods, Inc., in Snake River Canyon saw a decrease in surface water from springs and sought curtailment of junior groundwater pumping. In this case, the Director of IDWR found that Clear Springs was materially injured by junior groundwater pumping and ordered curtailment. Landsat imagery processed with METRIC was used to establish water budgets to assess depletions versus recharge. For recharge estimates, both evapotranspiration and surface-water diversion return flows were used. In response to the finding of material injury, groundwater irrigators in the affected area developed a mitigation plan, which was approved by IDWR, and they are no longer subject to curtailment.

Authors: Larisa Serbina and Holly Miller

In 2009, Snake River Farm, a trout farm owned by Clear Springs Foods, Inc., in Snake River Canyon (fig. 1) saw a decrease in surface water from springs (fig. 2) and sought curtailment of junior groundwater pumping. In this case, the Director of IDWR found that Clear Springs was materially injured by junior groundwater pumping and ordered curtailment. Landsat imagery processed with METRIC was used to establish water budgets to assess depletions versus recharge. For recharge estimates, both evapotranspiration and surface-water diversion return flows were used. In response to the finding of material injury, groundwater irrigators in the affected area (fig. 3) developed a mitigation plan, which was approved by IDWR, and they are no longer subject to curtailment.

Snake River Farm, Snake River Canyon, Idaho. Courtesy of Idaho Department of Water Resources.

Snake River Farm, Snake River Canyon, Idaho. Courtesy of Idaho Department of Water Resources.

Ground water outflows at Thousand Springs, Idaho, provide water to fish farms along the Snake River, Idaho.

Ground water outflows at Thousand Springs, Idaho, provide water to fish farms along the Snake River, Idaho. Courtesy of Idaho Department of Water Resources.

Seasonal METRIC evapotranspiration along the Snake River, Idaho.

Seasonal METRIC evapotranspiration along the Snake River, Idaho. Junior water rights affected by curtailment are highlighted in yellow. Courtesy of Idaho Department of Water Resources. (ET, evapotranspiration; mm, millimeters)

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