The Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer (RPA) in Northern Idaho is a valuable and significant resource to the region and the state of Idaho. Lying under parts of Kootenai and Bonner counties, the aquifer is a key part of the regional water resources, which make the area a magnet for economic growth and an attractive place to live and work. The region produces approximately eight percent of the goods and services in the state of Idaho resulting in an estimated value of $4 billion. Beyond the economic value to the state, the region provides cultural and social benefits throughout the entire Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie in both Washington and Idaho.
IWRB developed the following goals for the statewide Comprehensive Aquifer Management Planning (CAMP) effort:
- Provide reliable sources of water—projecting 50 years into the future.
- Develop strategies to avoid conflicts over water resources.
- Prioritize future state investments in water.
- Bridge gaps between future water needs and supply.
Provide a sustainable source of high-quality groundwater for current and future economic, social, and environmental benefits, and preserve the exceptional quality and reliability of the Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer.
At the direction of IWRB and the Idaho Legislature, the plan was developed collaboratively by the RPA Advisory Committee and the public. The resulting RPA Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan provides a framework for long-range management of the aquifer. The plan describes the overarching goals and recommended actions that can be implemented to successfully accomplish the stated goals for local residents and the state of Idaho, as well as promote productive regional cooperation to benefit the area over the next 50 years.
The RPA Advisory Committee submitted a recommended plan to IWRB for their consideration and adoption, and IWRB formally adopted the plan at their meeting on July 29, 2011. During the 2012 Idaho Legislative session, IWRB submitted the plan for final legislative action.