IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE — WATER RIGHTS AND RECLAMATION
APPROPRIATION OF WATER — PERMITS, CERTIFICATES, AND LICENSES — SURVEY
42-234. Ground water recharge — Authority of department to grant permitS AND LICENSES. (1) It is the policy of the state of Idaho to promote and encourage the optimum development and augmentation of the water resources of this state. The legislature deems it essential, therefore, that water projects designed to advance this policy be given maximum support. The legislature finds that the use of water to recharge ground water basins in accordance with Idaho law and the state water plan may enhance the full realization of our water resource potential by furthering water conservation and increasing the water available for beneficial use.
(2) The legislature hereby declares that the appropriation of water for purposes of ground water recharge shall constitute a beneficial use of water. The director of the department of water resources is authorized to issue permits and licenses for the purpose of ground water recharge, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and in compliance with other applicable Idaho law and the state water plan.
(3) The director of the department of water resources may regulate the amount of water which may be diverted for recharge purposes and may reduce such amount, even though there is sufficient water to supply the entire amount originally authorized by permit or license. To facilitate necessary financing of an aquifer recharge project, the director may fix a term of years in the permit or license during which the amount of water authorized to be diverted shall not be reduced by the director under the provisions of this subsection.
(4) To ensure that other water rights are not injured by the operations of an aquifer recharge project, the director of the department of water resources shall have the authority to approve, disapprove or require alterations in the methods employed to achieve ground water recharge. In the event that the director determines that the methods of operation are adversely affecting existing water rights or are creating conditions adverse to the beneficial use of water under existing water rights, the director shall order the cessation of operations until such alterations as may be ordered by the director have been accomplished or such adverse effects otherwise have been corrected.
(5) The legislature further recognizes that incidental ground water recharge benefits are often obtained from the diversion and use of water for various beneficial purposes. However, such incidental recharge may not be used as the basis for claim of a separate or expanded water right. Incidental recharge of aquifers which occurs as a result of water diversion and use that does not exceed the vested water right of water right holders is in the public interest. The values of such incidental recharge shall be considered in the management of the state’s water resources.
[42-234, added 1978, ch. 366, sec. 1, p. 955; am. 1994, ch. 433, sec. 1, p. 1397; am. 2009, ch. 242, sec. 1, p. 743.]