Idaho – County requests drought declaration

Letter awaiting gubernatorial reply

By KATHERINE WUTZ Express Staff Writer

Blaine County submitted a request to Gov. Butch Otter for an emergency drought declaration late last week, following requests from local water officials.

Blaine County requests drought declaration
Blaine County requests drought declaration

County Commissioner Larry Schoen said at a commissioners’ meeting Tuesday, May 7, that he had been contacted by regional water master Kevin Lakey, as well as Lawrence Kimball, water master for the Fish Creek Reservoir Co. Schoen said both men requested that the county petition both Idaho Department of Water Resources Director Gary Spackman and the governor for an emergency drought declaration.

“We have had cold, dry conditions, and the coolness has kept some of the moisture from flowing into the main rivers,” Schoen said, noting that this is the earliest emergency drought declaration request from Blaine County in recent history.

“We did it quite early last year, but not as early as this,” he said. “As far as the water master knows, this is the earliest ever.”

Schoen said the declaration, if approved, would allow water masters more flexibility to reallocate water rights in the Fish Creek area, near Carey.

Commissioner Jacob Greenberg initially declined to sign the letter of request on May 7, stating that he wanted more time to make his own phone calls and do his own research to determine if the declaration was necessary.

Greenberg signed the letter late last week, and Schoen said on Thursday that the letter had been sent to the governor’s office for review.

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