CALDWELL -- An Idaho water user's lobbying group is fighting the city of Caldwell's bid to gain control of a portion of a local irrigation district, calling it an unprecedented hostile takeover.
The Idaho Water Users Association said Wednesday that Caldwell's eminent domain claim against the Pioneer Irrigation District amid a dispute over drainage rights could set a precedent for governmental "water grabs."
Meanwhile, Caldwell argues winning the case will save money for thousands of Pioneer customers -- and put an end to Pioneer's original 2008 lawsuit because the city would assume control of drains that cover about 10,500 acres.
The lawsuit has cost both sides millions.
Idaho Water Users Association lobbyist Norm Semanko called Caldwell's move a direct attack on irrigation.
He believes the matter will have statewide consequences for agriculture.