IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE — WATER RIGHTS AND RECLAMATION
ADJUDICATION OF WATER RIGHTS
42-1404. Private actions for adjudication of water rights. (1) Any claimant may file suit in the district court for the county in which the point of diversion or place of use of the claimed right is located for the purpose of adjudicating rights to the use of water from any water system for which a general adjudication has not been commenced or completed. The claimant shall set forth in his complaint the claimed water right in a notice of claim form furnished by the director. The claimant shall join all claimants of rights to the use of water from the water system whose joinder is necessary to resolve the dispute over rights to the use of water from the water system. The claimant shall also publish notice of the action in the manner specified in subsection (2)(b) of section 42-1408A [42-1408], Idaho Code.
(2) Any party who may be injured and who objects to the water right claimed by the claimant shall, within forty-five (45) days of the date of first publication of notice, file with the district court written notice of such objection stating the reasons for the objection. A copy of the objection shall be served upon the claimant, all other parties of record in the action, the watermasters, and the director.
(3) Any claimant of a right to the use of water from the water system being adjudicated shall be entitled to intervene and have the claimed right adjudicated. Any such claimant requesting intervention shall set forth the claimed water right in a notice of claim form furnished by the director. The court may request a director’s report of the director, as described in section 42-1411, Idaho Code, as to those rights to be determined. The director shall advise the district court as to whether the director will commence an examination of the water system in accordance with the provisions of section 42-1410, Idaho Code. If the director elects not to conduct an examination, the adjudication shall proceed based on the description of the water right in the notice of claim form. Each claimant shall have the burden of proof of establishing each element of a water right described in the claimants notice of claim form.
(4) The director shall provide to the court an estimate of the costs that will be incurred in conducting the examination and in preparing the director’s report and an approximate time when the director’s report will be completed. The court shall order the claimants of the rights to be determined to submit a notice of claim to the director in accordance with section 42-1409, Idaho Code, except that the fee as described in section 42-1414, Idaho Code, shall not apply. Upon the completion of claims-taking, the director shall bill each claimant for a claim fee equal to that claimant’s proportionate share of the total estimated cost to the state relative to that claimant’s share of the total amount of water claimed by all claimants or for an amount as determined by the court. Any notice of claim for a water right for which the fee is unpaid after thirty (30) days from billing by the director shall be incomplete and may be rejected. Prior to filing of the report with the court, the claimants shall pay the balance of the department’s verified costs or be refunded any unused estimated costs advanced to the department in the same proportion as described above. In the event that a claimant shall contest the department’s costs, the court shall then determine the reasonable costs to be paid by each claimant.
(5) Notice of the filing of the director’s report shall be given and objections to the director’s report shall be made and heard as provided in sections 42-1411 and 42-1412, Idaho Code.
(6) The decree, which shall be entered pursuant to section 42-1412, Idaho Code, shall contain or incorporate a statement of each element of a water right as stated in subsection (2) of section 42-1411, Idaho Code, as applicable. The decree shall also determine all other matters necessary for the efficient administration of the water rights. The decree shall be conclusive as to the rights determined in the proceeding only as to those persons party to the proceeding.
(7) Any party who has appeared and is aggrieved by the decree of the district court may appeal in accordance with the Idaho appellate rules.
[42-1404, added 1986, ch. 220, sec. 5, p. 562; am. 1994, ch. 454, sec. 7, p. 1448.]