Frequently Asked Questions
- What happens now that the feasibility study is complete?
The feasibility study findings show that a regional water supply system is technically, financially, and politically feasible for the study region south of Boise.
Future phases of the Elmore-Ada Water Project will be dependent upon the demand for water as land use plans move forward. Future project phases will include a regional water master plan, an environmental impact statement, and the design of water transmission facilities.
- Why was this region selected for the feasibility study?
The land extending generally southeast of Boise to Mountain Home (referred to as the “desert study region”) is an attractive region due to (1) its proximity to Boise, (2) access to I-84 and the Boise airport, (3) topography, (4) economic development opportunities and (5) the ability to intelligently plan the entire region.
Though the region is open desert where natural water recharge rates are low and the sustainable capacity of aquifers is highly uncertain, creating a consistent water supply would enable this region to support future economic development from current land uses, including the growth and expansion of industrial, agricultural and agricultural-dependent businesses, as well as residential and commercial opportunities.
- Could this project be completed in separate areas within the region?
There are three separate areas included within the region, each with unique water supply challenges. Each of these areas could have separately developed water systems with different phases as part of a coordinated long-term regional water system as suggested in the feasibility study.
One area is the northern portion around Kuna-Mora Road near the Boise City impact area with potential access to existing, but limited, water sources.
Another area is the southern portion, already developed, that includes the City of Mountain Home and the Mountain Home U.S. Air Force Base. However, the current sources of water in this area may be inadequate to meet future development demand.
The third area is the central portion in the Mayfield-Orchard area with minimal current development activity.
- When might a viable water supply be developed for this area?
In a best-case scenario, surface water from the Snake River could be delivered in approximately 10 years, likely in combination with a groundwater supply available sooner.
In certain limited situations, it is possible that ground water rights could be acquired and a small portion of the delivery system completed within two or three years.
The development of water resources will proceed in response to demand for water supply in each area within the region.
- Who manages the Elmore Ada Water Project?
Elmore Ada Water Project, LLC is privately owned by SPF Water Engineering (SPF Water), United Water Idaho, and two area landowners.
The feasibility study was completed by SPF Water, subject to guidance from an oversight committee. The project Oversight Committee was comprised of two project participants, two SPF Water representatives and an independent member.
- How was the Elmore Ada Water Project feasibility study funded?
Phase 1 of the Elmore Ada Water Project was funded by 14 participants, including both public and private entities. Combined, the study participants provided a total of $1.2 million for the feasibility study.
- Will development be focused on homes and residential subdivisions?
A sustainable water supply will support existing landowners and enables economic growth through the expansion of current land uses, including industrial, agricultural and agricultural-dependent businesses as well as future residential and commercial needs.
- Will you be purchasing water rights from existing property owners?
The feasibility study examined a number of factors, including infrastructure needs, environmental impacts, growth projections, current water rights, and existing regulations and statutes involving Snake River water flows. Each of these elements was researched to provide a recommendation about potential water resource opportunities for this area. One of the recommendations of the feasibility study was the purchase of water rights.
- Is this type of assessment new in determining the viability of an area for an additional water supply?
Projects of this nature are not new and have been done before. Numerous successful examples in the West include the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, the Central Arizona Project, and the Central Utah Water Conservancy District. The primary source of surface river water for each of these other projects is located much farther from the use areas than will occur within this project.
However, as each area is unique, the feasibility study focused on potential solutions that are appropriate to Idaho.
- Who can I contact for more information on the project?
Cathy Cooper ~ Management Committee Member
Eric Landsberg ~ Management Committee Member
Crystal Jensen ~ Project Administrator