IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE — WATER RIGHTS AND RECLAMATION
ADJUDICATION OF WATER RIGHTS
42-1427. Descriptions of water rights — Reporting and decreeing elements of a decreed or licensed water right. (1) Legislative findings:
(a) The legislature finds that existing water rights are not uniformly described. Many old water rights were simply defined by source, priority date and diversion rate. Over time, the legislature and courts have made this original description of a water right more specific by the addition of other elements. Because of the increasing demand for water, it is important that the elements of a water right be standardized to allow for fair and efficient administration of the limited water supply. One (1) purpose of chapter 14, title 42, Idaho Code, is to establish, through an adjudication a uniform description for surface water rights, ground water rights and water rights which include storage.
(b) Because of the passage of time it is not possible to establish with any degree of certainty the undefined elements of a decreed or licensed water right as they existed on the date the right was established, because water delivery has occurred based upon the historic water use patterns and custom, and because attempts to define elements of a water right based upon unknown conditions in existence on the date of the establishment of the water right could result in significant impacts upon the claimant, the local economy and tax base, the legislature finds that it is in the public interest to provide a mechanism to decree previously undefined elements of existing water rights based upon conditions existing on the date of commencement of the adjudication provided the claimant is not exceeding any previously determined and recorded element of the decreed or licensed water right.
(2) If a licensed or decreed water right does not describe all of the elements of a water right required in section 42-1409, Idaho Code, the director shall include in his report recommendations for those elements not defined by the prior license or decree based upon the extent of beneficial use of the water right as of the date of the commencement of an adjudication.
[42-1427, added 1994, ch. 454, sec. 33, p. 1476; am. 1994, ch. 455, sec. 6, p. 1489.]