Gov. Butch Otter told his Water Summit in Burley today that he’s making Dave Tuthill, who’s been serving as interim director of the state Department of Water Resources, the permanent director. “We can’t achieve long-term solutions with temporary, interim initiatives. And we can’t achieve long-term solutions with a temporary, interim director,” the governor told the assembled water users and policy experts.
Otter said the summit, which includes 19 invited representatives of surface water users, ground water users, spring water users, municipalities, county assessors, industry, utilities and domestic well users, will help figure out how to deal with conflict over water use involving the eastern Snake plain aquifer. The state’s responsible, he said, because it approved water rights beyond the capability of the aquifer to meet. “For that, and for all the people who did that, I’m sincerely sorry,” Otter told the group, which plans to hold part of its meetings today behind closed doors. “But we have to play the hand we’re dealt, and we haven’t been dealt a very good hand.”