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Idaho Geothermal Resources
322 E. Front St
PO Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0098
Ph: (208) 287-4800
Fx: (208) 287-6700 geothermalInfo@idwr.idaho.gov
Geothermal Well Construction
Because of the unique value of geothermal resources, they are protected through special Idaho laws. Geothermal resources are defined in Geothermal Resources Act (Idaho Code Title 42-40) as either low temperature geothermal (86 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit) or geothermal (greater than 212 degrees Fahrenheit). Rules for drilling for geothermal resources can be found at Drilling for Geothermal Resources Rules (IDAPA 37.03.04) and Well Construction Standards Rules (IDAPA 37.04.09).
Further information about drilling and well construction requirements may be obtained from the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) Ground Water Protection Section in Boise at 208-287-4800 or at an IDWR Regional Office .
Ground Water Management Areas
Some areas in Idaho have special restrictions or moratoriums on new development. The Director of IDWR, has designated ground water management areas (GWMAs) and critical ground water areas (CGWAs), as shown in figure 1. These areas have shown to have insufficient supply or insufficient supply is anticipated for future uses.
Figure 1. Ground water management areas and critical ground water management areas as of August, 2002.
The Boise Front GWMA, Banbury Hot Springs GWMA and Twin Falls GWMA were all designated specifically for protection of the geothermal aquifers. However, other designated areas may also impose restrictions or moratoriums that affect the development of geothermal resources. If you are interested in drilling a geothermal well, or would like to use the geothermal resources within one of the areas shown on the GWMA map, please contact IDWR for further information about the possible restrictions in that area (IDWR location information). For more information about GWMAs and CGWAs, an overview of the areas as of 1998 is available in Ground Water Management Areas in Idaho.
Water districts are created to oversee distribution of water supplies in areas where public streams or water supplies for which the courts have adjudicated priorities of appropriation. The Director of IDWR also has authority to revise the boundaries of existing districts, combine two or more districts, and/or abolish districts if such action is necessary to properly administer water uses. Each active water district in Idaho has a water-master who oversees water distribution within the district. Proper water distribution under Idaho water law and the appropriation system is the primary goal and responsibility of all Idaho water-masters. Water distribution, record keeping, measurement and general district management are the primary duties of each water-master. There is currently one water district designated for geothermal resources. Water District 63-S is in the Stewart Gulch area of the Boise Front geothermal resource.
Other Regulatory Information
Other restrictions or regulations may be imposed through federal or local authorities. Please contact the appropriate agency or land manager for further information.
Need More Information?
Additional information about any of these topics can be obtained from the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR office location information).
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