The city receives water from North Side Canal Company. Water is distributed through a series of ditches, underground pipe, irrigation boxes, and head gates. The system is not pressurized and relies on elevation to deliver water to individual properties. Irrigation is not accessible to all properties.
Why residents are charged when they do not have access to irrigation?
The State of Idaho requires that cities offer an alternative watering system, other than the City’s potable (drinking) well water during the spring, summer, and fall months to water lawns, gardens, orchards, pastures, etc.; with an appropriation to certify and turn unpaid invoiced amounts to the County Treasurer for collection.
Wendell’s billing for city irrigation water is based on the property lot size. Each parcel’s square footage has been verified with the Gooding County Assessor’s office.
It is important to understand that the property owner’s assessment is not a “user fee”. The annual assessment billed to each property in the City represents the annual cost of conveyance, distribution, and apportionment of irrigation water, the construction, maintenance, and repair of the irrigation system; together with charges of the North Side Canal Company for delivery of the City owned 500 municipal water shares.
Again, these expenses are defrayed by the annual assessment against each parcel of land within the city limits whereon irrigation water is, may be, or can be used or delivered out of the irrigation system.
If a property owner does not have access to irrigation but has irrigation piped through their property, they can request access to the irrigation line but will be assessed at a higher rate. For example, Wendell residents with access to irrigation in 2014 were charged an additional $105.70 to cover our ditch rider fees in addition to the square footage assessment billed to each property.
In addition, our irrigation system is the City of Wendell’s primary storm water management tool; rain and snow flood our ditches that eventually delivers the storm water to the Snake River.