Current Newsletter

Dear Water User,                                                                                                             

Ground water usage in the Big Lost River Valley will soon be under greater scrutiny by the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR). Although groundwater usage data has been collected for many years by Water District 34 staff, most users have not had the opportunity to review the data submitted to IDWR each year. To better educate ourselves regarding the calculated volumes attributed to our wells and water rights, the Big Lost River Ground Water District has contracted with Water Well Consultants Inc. to create usage summaries that describe water rights, points of diversion, and calculated usage for each ground water user in the valley. This data is of public record and is presented as it is currently provided on IDWR water right and water usage databases.

Please find attached your individual ground water usage summary. This summary provides a breakdown of water rights with appurtenant wells and includes the 2014 to 2016 average usage for each well as a point of reference. Note these summaries do not include any surface water that may be combined with your ground water rights or that are appurtenant to the same lands as your ground water rights. Below is a description of the column headings (left to right). Please pay special attention to the highlighted columns and notify the ground water district of any corrections that need to be made.

Yearly pumping volumes are presented in the second attached sheet. Please review the usage data for each individual year and contact the watermaster or Water Well Consultants to discuss any corrections that need to be made.

It is essential that all users know and understand their water rights and withdrawals from the aquifer in order to manage groundwater in our basin. The board of the Big Lost River Ground Water District is committed to provide all necessary information and education to help ground water users sustainably manage the aquifer in the Lost River Valley.


Ground Water District Board

Column Heading Descriptions:

Billing Contact – water right owner as assessed by the Ground Water District for the 2020 season

Water Right # – IDWR designated water right number with basin prefix

Priority Date – listed priority                           

Water Right Condition – if any restrictions or conditions exist in the comments of a water right they are listed under this column. Examples include trust water, enlargement, must use surface water first, etc.

Water Right CFS – total cubic feet per second as listed on water right details. Multiple use and combined cfs limitations not displayed.

Combined Acres – shows combined limitations where multiple water rights are limited to a given acreage. If no combination exists, the total acres for each right is listed.

Acres/Right – this column describes the allowed acreage for each individual right. Where combinations exist, ground water district consultants split acreage between rights taking care to honor individual right limits where possible. If no individual limits existed where the sum of those limits equaled the combined limit, percentage of total cfs was used.

WMIS# – IDWR water measurement database identification number

Well Name – common name of well as currently recorded in WMIS database. This name aids communication between water district, ground water district, and IDWR staff when conversing with a user about their well.

POD – public land survey delineation point of diversion as listed on associated water rights

Avg. Usage – 2014 to 2016 average usage as reported by water district staff

Avg. ft/acre – volume pumped divided by water right acres

Helpful conversion values from IDWR website:

1 miner’s inch ……………… 9 gpm ……………………….. 0.02 cfs

1 CFS ………………………….. 448.8 gpm …………………. 50 miner’s inches

1 acre-foot …………………. 325,850 gallons …………. 25.2 inches (24hr)

gpm = gallons per minute

cfs = cubic feet per second


Jaxon Higgs, P.G.

Water Well Consultants, Inc.


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September 26, 2021

Dear Ground Water Members: 

Whew… 2021 wasn’t a great water year.  It tested the best of you.  Thank you for being so inventive with new ways to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the drops that we did have.  We all need to pray for a great snow pack this winter. 

Mark your calendar for November 3, 2021. Our BUDGET AND ANNUAL MEETING will be at 7:00 p.m. in the Butte County Business Center conference room.  Your attendance would be greatly appreciated. 

Recently our attorney and Chairman attended the Idaho Water Users Association conference.  The following is a summary from what was presented:   

IDWR Director, Gary Spackman, was one of the presenters. During his discussion of the Wood River Basin curtailment he mentioned that he plans to follow the same process in the Big Lost Basin as soon as he receives direction from Judge Wildman. This is a bit concerning because the process he followed in the Wood River Basin is different than what he has done elsewhere, and what we anticipated he would do in the Big Lost.

Historically the Director has not undertaken conjunctive management unless

  • a senior surface water makes a delivery call under the Conjunctive Management Rules, or
  •  a Ground Water Management Area is designated and a Ground Water

 Management Plan is developed.

In the Wood River Basin, he side-stepped those procedures and jumped right into curtailment of groundwater rights in the middle of the summer. This caught a lot of people by surprise, and his decision has been appealed to Judge Wildman.

I spoke with Director Spackman after his presentation and explained that the Big Lost River GWD filed its petition to designate a GWMA with the expectation that it would be followed by a deliberate process to develop a Ground Water Management Plan, and that we do not want to have curtailment sprung on us like what happened in the Wood River Basin. Based on his experience in the Wood River Basin he has the perception that groundwater users in the tributary basins are just delaying mitigation as long as they can. I assured him that is not the case with Big Lost River Ground Water District, and that the Big Lost River Ground Water District has been actively developing management concepts in anticipation of a GWMA being designated.

(Please note that the Board has been working on a “plan’ for years and has submitted it.)

Hope to see you at the Budget and Annual Meeting,

Debbie Broadie,

Office Manager

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Big Lost River Ground Water District

Phone and Fax    208-591-3982   208-731-9214

September 16, 2020

Ground Water User:

The year has been interesting.  Hopefully you and yours have remained healthy while missing the Covid virus, fires, drought, horrendous wind, home schooling, presidential election, commodity prices, etc.   If you missed these events, you were not in our Valley!!   It’s been CRAZY!!

There are three Division Director positions available to be filled this November.  If you are a ground water user in Division 7, 5, or 2 and would like to serve on the Board, please contact Debbie (208)731-9214.  The nomination forms are available no earlier than September 18, 2020 at the BLRGWD office.  The completed nomination form is to be returned to the office no later than October 5, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.  Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 4, 2020.  Forms will be available on the door if the office is closed.

A summary of our year’s progress will be delivered at the Budget and Annual Meeting October 7, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at the BIC Center.   Come meet the Directors and give your suggestions.  They appreciate your comments that help improve our Ground Water District.

The 2020 ground water bills will be coming out in November.  As you get yours, please feel free to look up your water rights on the Idaho Department of Water Resources Website.  (see directions attached).  Enclosed you will find a sample of a water right.  This site has lots of information on it, such as documents, maps and pedigree of your water.  Check to be sure we have the correct water right number, that it is in the correct name, your current address is listed,  and the number of CFS are correct.  Don’t be intimidated by the tabs, buttons, etc.  You can’t hurt the site and you can’t change anything without going to IDWR.  So have some fun looking up lots of ‘stuff’.

Also, remember that the billing for usage you will be receiving is prorated for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 years.  (not 2020!!)  If you used 175 CFS for 2016, 225 CFS for 2017, and 321 CFS for 2018, your average would be 240 CFS.  These CFS measurements (also call usage) of your well are gathered throughout the growing season every year.

You will probably be getting a bill from Water District 34 and the Big Lost River Irrigation District.  Our bill has a pump on it.

We have been asked by those with small water rights that don’t have a use for them or cannot get them “what should I do with my water rights?   If this sounds like you, give the office a call.  We can direct you to the right person who can give you ideas on how to preserve them.

The Idaho Legislature revised how Ground Water Districts levy assessments and apportion mitigation plan obligations.  Now the Ground Water Districts can request IDWR to restrict diversions owned/operated by Ground Water District Patrons who are either delinquent in paying their assessment or not complying with their proportionate share of a mitigation plan.  These statutes do not authorize IDWR to consider request for restriction of payment levied by the Ground Water District prior to April 1, 2019.   Meaning the IDWR will handle any delinquent accounts by restricting water delivery.  The liens that we have thus far remain in place. 

To verify these updated statues, see Idaho Code 42-5232, Idaho Code 42-5244A, and Idaho Code 42-5244B 

In summary:

  • Mark your calendar for the BLRGWD Budget and Annual Meeting October 7, 2020.    
  • Come get a nomination form to serve on the BLRGWD Board
  • Look up your Water Rights

See you at the meeting,

Debbie Broadie

Office Manager

For the Big Lost River Ground Water District

P.S.  If you have moved, please advise IDWR of your new address.

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Big Lost River Ground Water District
Physical Address: 159 N Idaho Street Suite 106 Mailing address: P.O. Box 721
Arco, Idaho 83213
Phone and Fax 208-591-3982

Groundwater Users:

The 2017 irrigation season has proven to be an exceptional water year for both surface river flows and ground water aquifer recovery and stabilization. WD 34 records indicate 103,294 AF of managed recharge was accomplished during the spring and summer months of this year, and fall and winter managed recharge projects continue to replenish aquifer levels. USGS gaging stations indicate there are substantial river flows leaving the valley that can still be diverted for the benefit of the valley if more recharge projects were further developed. As you saw in our last Newsletter, the recent agreement between WD34 and DOE did capture the diversion of water into INL spreading ponds as credit for Basin 34 irrigators. We appreciate all of those individuals and entities who have supported and contributed to this most successful endeavor. BLRGD and IDWR will continue to retrieve and share aquifer level data gathered from our joint monitoring programs.

Another success that many of you may have heard about is the Collaborative Group efforts in developing enhanced water projects/parks in the Arco and Moore areas. Each project is being envisioned and developed by an Arco Team and Moore Team respectively. These teams are building alliances with local water users and regional and state conservancy interests. As these projects begin to take shape, community members will be invited to a series of public meetings this winter to be introduced to the project and given an opportunity to participate in their development. BLRGD will continue to support these projects and provide technical and advisory assistants

The Big Lost River Ground Water District website can now be used by everyone. Not only will you be able to read the minutes of the Board meetings, but a copy of the latest Newsletter will also be posted. On the side, please look at the Pivotrac information, Snotel reports, and IDWR website. A big ‘thank you’ to Brenda Anderson who spent hours creating all the details in making this informative web page. Please note who your director is by referring to the color-coded chart and list of directors. To access this website, merely type: .

Enclosed you will find your 2018 billing for your well(s). The two calculations below need to be added together for your billing. They are:

1.  Proportionate Usage bill:
a.   Your 3 year CFS average usage is divided by the 3 year average of the total ground water used; times this percentage by the approved budget amount of $18,375.00; put a dollar sign on this total to find what you owe for your proportionate usage.

2.  Water Right CFS Charge:
a.  The second part of your bill is the CFS Charge. This reflects the IDWR recorded cfs on each of your water rights. Start with the cfs of your water right and divide it by .02; take this number and times by $.50 to get the amount you owe for that water right. Each of your water rights will be listed and have an amount due.

The minimum assessment is $35.00 for every account. The are no exclusions for minimum users. All assessments must be paid before December 31, 2017, to avoid a $15.00 per water right penalty and per month interest charge.

After receiving and reviewing the notice from Director Spackman (IDWR) regarding the Upper Big Lost River Ground Water Association’s Mitigation and Aquifer Enhancement Plan, the board feels obligated to protect our member’s interests by participating in the administrative proceedings on this matter. We will keep you posted as the matter moves forward.

Thanks for your support during the Big Lost River Ground Water District’s Organizational year. The Directors have spent many hours away from their normal duties to help organize and develop the best ground water district possible. As always, you are invited to all Board Meetings.

Have a Wonderful Christmas

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