Idaho's clean water is a fundamental component of the state's economy and a significant element of quality of life for all Idahoans. The benefits of the state's water resources are enormous and range from public water supplies, propagation of fish and wildlife, recreation, agricultural and industrial purposes, and navigation.
Because it's an asset with values so vital to the state's future, we cannot afford to overlook what is required to ensure the protection of the state's water resources. Over the last couple of years, Idaho's lawmakers have removed state funding for monitoring Idaho's water resources.
Water quality data are used to characterize waters, identify trends over time, recognize emerging problems, verify whether pollution control programs are working, help direct pollution control efforts to where they are most needed and respond to emergencies.
A fully funded water quality-monitoring program is not a large expenditure but is a necessary investment to ensure environmental health and economic viability for the state of Idaho. Therefore, we should ask Gov. Otter to fully reinstate and fund water-quality monitoring budgets in 2011.
Sawtooth Environmental Consulting