Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Treasure Valley growth needs Pressurized Irrigation



Nampa--A strong push over the past two decades to use inexpensive canal water to irrigate lawns, gardens, and landscaping has exploded.

Rather than pumping precious groundwater from the valley’s aquifer, homeowners are turning to pressurized irrigation systems managed by the Nampa &Meridian Irrigation District, according to the District.

Last year 418 subdivisions used NMID irrigation canal water with pressurized systems to irrigate everything from lawns and gardens to landscaping. Today that figure has increased to 479 subdivisions, that's an increase of 12.7 percent in just two years.

In 2016 there were 15,745 individual parcels of land, including residential homes, parks, schools and commercial properties, irrigated by NMID pressurized systems. Today, the number has grown to 17,147 individual parcels, an increase of 1,402 parcels.

“There has been a steady increase in the demand for pressurized irrigation systems over the past few years. The total acreage now using canal water rather than municipal drinking is up to 6,217 acres. That equates to approximately 9.6 square miles of land. That is three times what it was in the year 2000,” noted NMID Secretary-Treasurer Daren Coon.

“The District believes it has an obligation to do all it can to conserve our valley’s crucial groundwater aquifers. Using canal water from the Boise River to irrigate lawns, gardens, and landscaping rather than pumping it out of the aquifer that supplies the majority of the valley’s drinking water is an effective way to do it,” Coon added. Canal water is non-potable and cannot be used for drinking water.

NMID water managers several years ago estimated that subdivisions using its water under pressurized irrigation annually saved about 5 Billion gallons of municipal drinking water that would have been needed to meet irrigation demands from municipal systems. That figure has been updated to reflect approximately 6 Billion gallons per year. That’s enough water to cover almost 29 square miles of land with water a foot deep.

The Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District is a water storage, conveyance and distribution system founded in 1904. The District also supplies irrigation water to some 69,000 acres of farmland, residential and commercial land in Ada and Canyon counties. More information about the District, including information on pressurized urban irrigation systems, is available on its website: www.nmid.org.

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