By 2060, the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer will supply drinking water for more than 400,000 North Idaho residents, according to population projections.
To anticipate future demand, the Idaho Water Resources Board has started a long-term planning effort for managing the aquifer, which spans 250-square miles in Kootenai and Bonner counties.
Residents can learn more and provide input at an open house from 5-8 p.m. Thursday at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, 720 E. Front St., or can share their thoughts at www.idwr.idaho.gov.
According to a draft of the plan:
• Without conservation, residents’ water use could triple within 50 years.
• Based on a 2.3 percent annual growth rate, the number of Idaho residents living above the aquifer will increase from 128,000 to 400,000 by 2060.
• Public and private water systems are the largest draws on the aquifer, accounting for about half of water use. Agriculture and industry are other big consumers.
A final aquifer plan will be out in 2012.