IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE — WATER RIGHTS AND RECLAMATION
ADJUDICATION OF WATER RIGHTS
42-1425. Accomplished transfers. (1) Legislative findings regarding accomplished transfers and the public interest.
(a) The legislature finds and declares that, prior to the commencement of the Snake River basin adjudication, the northern Idaho adjudications, and the Bear River basin adjudication, many persons entitled to the use of water or owning land to which water has been made appurtenant either by decree of the court or under provisions of the constitution and statutes of this state changed the place of use, point of diversion, nature or purpose of use, or period of use of their water rights without compliance with the transfer provisions of sections 42-108 and 42-222, Idaho Code.
(b) The legislature finds that many of these changes occurred with the knowledge of other water users and that the water has been distributed to the right as changed. The legislature further finds and declares that the continuation of the historic water use patterns resulting from these changes is in the local public interest provided no other existing water right was injured at the time of the change. Denial of a claim based solely upon a failure to comply with sections 42-108 and 42-222, Idaho Code, where no injury or enlargement exists, would cause significant undue financial impact to a claimant and the local economy. Approval of the accomplished transfer through the procedure set forth in this section avoids the harsh economic impacts that would result from a denial of the claim.
(c) The legislature further finds and declares that examination of these changes by the director through the procedures of section 42-222, Idaho Code, would be impractical and unduly burdensome. The more limited examination of these changes provided for in this section constitutes a reasonable procedure for an expeditious review by the director while ensuring that the changes do not injure other existing water rights or constitute an enlargement of use of the original right.
(2) Any change of place of use, point of diversion, nature or purpose of use, or period of use of a water right by any person entitled to use of water or owning any land to which water has been made appurtenant, either by decree of the court or under the provisions of the constitution and statutes of this state, prior to November 19, 1987, the date of commencement of the Snake River basin adjudication, prior to January 1, 2006, for the northern Idaho adjudications authorized by section 42-1406B, Idaho Code, and prior to the date of commencement of the Bear River basin adjudication authorized by section 42-1406C, Idaho Code, may be claimed in the applicable general adjudication even though the person has not complied with sections 42-108 and 42-222, Idaho Code, provided no other water rights existing on the date of the change were injured and the change did not result in an enlargement of the original right. Except for the consent requirements of section 42-108, Idaho Code, all requirements of sections 42-108 and 42-222, Idaho Code, are hereby waived in accordance with the following procedures:
(a) If an objection is filed to a recommendation for accomplished change of place of use, point of diversion, nature or purpose of use, or period of use, the district court shall remand the water right to the director for further hearing to determine whether the change injured a water right existing on the date of the change or constituted an enlargement of the original right. After a hearing, the director shall submit a supplemental report to the district court setting forth his findings and conclusions. If the claimant or any person who filed an objection to the accomplished transfer is aggrieved by the director’s determination, they may seek review before the district court. If the change is disallowed, the claimant shall be entitled to resume use of the original water right, provided such resumption of use will not cause injury or can be mitigated to prevent injury to existing water rights. The unapproved change shall not be deemed a forfeiture or abandonment of the original water right.
(b) This section is not applicable to any claim based upon an enlargement of use.
[42-1425, added 1994, ch. 454, sec. 31, p. 1474; am. 1996, ch. 186, sec. 7, p. 592; am. 2006, ch. 222, sec. 3, p. 662; am. 2020, ch. 50, sec. 2, p. 117.]