A revised protection program for the Rathdrum Prairie aquifer is expected to cost about half what it does now.
But even scaled back, the state agencies that now run the program don’t know where the money will come from to pay for it.
The Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer Policy Advisory Committee recently issued a report containing its recommendations for cutting back the aquifer protection program.
The existing protection program has been paid for by an annual appropriation of $500,000. That money has dried up, and the program is due to run dry by October 1998.
The committee has suggested cutting funding for efforts to protect lake and hill recharge areas of the aquifer, and programs that promote public awareness.
The committee also suggested cutting out funding for projects that have been taken on by other agencies, such as storm water management and control of hazardous materials.
“The recommendations are pretty clear,” said Dick Martindale of the Panhandle Health District. “We want a lean and efficient program. We can do that with $273,000.”
The committee’s next task is to identify ways to finance the program past 1998.
Copies of the report are available at the health district, 2195 Ironwood Court in Coeur d’Alene, and the Division of Environmental Quality, 2110 Ironwood Parkway.