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A 4/05/10 article in the Idaho Statesman titled - "Barker: Water dispute shows how rural Idaho's clout is fading" states that "Many irrigators in Eastern Idaho believed the aquifer was 'unlimited'…"
Here is a link to an Overview of the Snake River Plain Aquifer - From the Digital Geology of Idaho web site. Hydrologic and geologic conditions, physical characteristics, and human impact are described. References also provided.
The Mesa Falls video below shows a large quantity of water flowing from the Henrys Fork of the Snake River in Eastern Idaho. Some water from the Snake River tributaries seeps down into the aquifer. For example, here is a link explaining how the Big and Little Lost Rivers become subterranean, feeding the aquifer.
Even 150 years ago, before most "Water Law" was established in the west, some historians had published knowledge of local, regional and worldwide problems related to this kind of natural resource myth. How does a population of educated people let itself create these kind of short term problems that would have different outcomes if long term sustainability could have been established as a goal by politicians, businesses, and the public initially? My view is that it is imperative that a much more balanced public participatory process is necessary. Everybody has to be a stakeholder in sustainability issues, not just politicians, government, businesses and special interest groups.
The question from now on is - how are we going to deal with natural resource sustainability decisions that affect everybody in Idaho and ecosystems that affect us and other western states, the US and countries around the world?
Again as I have stated many times in this blog, my view is that the Internet via open source and networking tools is becoming a transformative opportunity for more public information to become available and for many more people to become much more active participants in future natural resource and ecosystem sustainability decisions. I am trying to push my friends and associates to learn how to use these tools more effectively and to share their experiences with the rest of us.