The developer known as M3 won approval for only one-sixth of the water right requested from Water Resources in what GROWTHOPHOBES living north and west of Eagle term a “victory.” The developer gets only 4 cubic feet per second instead of the requested 23cfs for the massive 7,100 unit development in the hills north of Eagle. The number of units was also limited to around 1,000.
M3 had requested 30 years to develop the Pierce Gulch Sand Aquifer resource, an ancient, ancestral lake. Interim IDWR Director Gary Spackman instead ordered a 5-year window for “beneficial use” that has to commence within one year of permit issuance.
In his decision, the interim director cited various discrepancies in water studies provided by M3, as well as a lack of data to fully understand the boundaries, fault conditions and recharge of the targeted aquifer. Additionally, the interim director found that M3’s assumed status and application for reasonably anticipated needs as a municipal provider was not consistent with Idaho Code.
The order said, “the M3 Eagle development is, by it’s very nature, the very type of development that the legislature did not recognize as qualifying for a water right for reasonably anticipated future needs. M3 Eagle proposes a large appropriation of water for a purpose that is not yet established. The possible result of this protection could limit the future ability of existing municipalities in the area to extend and expand their currently existing systems”.
Spackman went on to say ” M3 Eagle has the ability , if these proposed future anticipated needs are recognized, to hold the future development of water in the Treasure Valley floor for the existing communities hostage to its future anticipated needs that are distant and not yet developed”. In granting the smaller flow rate, the Interim Director’s order also spelled out that M3 will be required install measuring devices in a number of wells in the area including their own wells to monitor ground water levels.
The order further stipulates that M3 Eagle will have to fully utilize waste water for irrigation purposes on all common areas including playgrounds and golf courses. The M3 Eagle water right application was filed in November 2007 and was protested by a large number of individual and entities.
A massive quantity of data and evidence was presented by M3 Eagle, the Protestants (growthophobes, not Christians) and the Idaho Dept of Water Resources spanning a record number of hearing days (17 days) that ended in late July 2009.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.