SFBR Diversion Project
Groundwater levels within the regional aquifer have shown decline for more than 40 years. Elmore County and the Idaho Department of Water Resources have recognized this with declaration of the Cinder Cone Butte Critical Groundwater Area in 1981 and the Mountain Home Ground Water Management Area in 1982. Although, after declaration, levels continued to fall. In some areas the water table has fallen 100 feet or more. Multiple studies are available to review, they are listed here.
The decline in water resources has been a severe constraint on economic growth in the County. In 2014, the Elmore County Commissioners took a proactive approach to addressing County water resources at a regional level. A 2017 Water Supply Alternatives Report provided the Commissioners with options to begin to address the problem. As part of the implementation of that report, the Canyon Creek Recharge sites were permitted through the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and have been used successfully, a number of times, to capture runoff events.
An additional item identified as an alternative was diverting water from Anderson Ranch Reservoir. The Elmore County Commissioners successfully received a water right application to divert water from Anderson Ranch Reservoir to Little Camas Reservoir, under certain conditions, for aquifer recharge and irrigation uses in Elmore County (see Project Details). Preliminary engineering design and environmental compliance under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) are currently underway (see Project Planning Process).