IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE — WATER RIGHTS AND RECLAMATION
APPROPRIATION OF WATER — PERMITS, CERTIFICATES, AND LICENSES — SURVEY
42-237a. Powers of the director of the department of water resources. In the administration and enforcement of this act and in the effectuation of the policy of this state to conserve its ground water resources, the director of the department of water resources in his sole discretion, is empowered:
a. To require all flowing wells to be so capped or equipped with valves that the flow of water can be completely stopped when the wells are not in use.
b. To require both flowing and nonflowing wells to be so constructed and maintained as to prevent the waste of ground waters through leaky wells, casings, pipes, fittings, valves or pumps either above or below the land surface.
c. To prescribe uniform scientific methods to determine water levels in and calculate waters withdrawn from wells.
d. To go upon all lands, both public and private, for the purpose of inspecting wells, pumps, casings, pipes, and fittings, including wells used or claimed to be used for domestic purposes.
e. To order the cessation of use of a well pending the correction of any defect that the director of the department of water resources has ordered corrected.
f. To commence actions to enjoin the illegal opening or excavation of wells or withdrawal or use of water therefrom and to appear and become a party to any action or proceeding pending in any court or administrative agency when it appears to the director of the department of water resources that the determination of such action or proceeding might result in depletion of the ground water resources of the state contrary to the public policy expressed in this act.
g. To supervise and control the exercise and administration of all rights to the use of ground waters and in the exercise of this discretionary power he may initiate administrative proceedings to prohibit or limit the withdrawal of water from any well during any period that he determines that water to fill any water right in said well is not there available. To assist the director of the department of water resources in the administration and enforcement of this act, and in making determinations upon which said orders shall be based, he may establish a ground water pumping level or levels in an area or areas having a common ground water supply as determined by him as hereinafter provided. Water in a well shall not be deemed available to fill a water right therein if withdrawal therefrom of the amount called for by such right would affect, contrary to the declared policy of this act, the present or future use of any prior surface or ground water right or result in the withdrawing of the ground water supply at a rate beyond the reasonably anticipated average rate of future natural recharge. However, the director may allow withdrawal at a rate exceeding the reasonably anticipated rate of future natural recharge if the director finds it is in the public interest and if it satisfies the following criteria:
1. A program exists or likely will exist which will increase recharge or decrease withdrawals within a time period acceptable to the director to bring withdrawals into balance with recharge.
2. Holders of senior rights to use ground water will not be caused thereby to pump water from below the established reasonable pumping level or levels.
In connection with his supervision and control of the exercise of ground water rights the director of the department of water resources shall also have the power to determine what areas of the state have a common ground water supply and whenever it is determined that any area has a ground water supply which affects the flow of water in any stream or streams in an organized water district, to incorporate such area in said water district; and whenever it is determined that the ground water in an area having a common ground water supply does not affect the flow of water in any stream in an organized water district, to incorporate such area in a separate water district to be created in the same manner provided for in section 42-604 of title 42, Idaho Code. The administration of water rights within water districts created or enlarged pursuant to this act shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions of title 42, Idaho Code, as the same have been or may hereafter be amended, except that in the administration of ground water rights either the director of the department of water resources or the watermaster in a water district or the director of the department of water resources outside of a water district shall, upon determining that there is not sufficient water in a well to fill a particular ground water right therein by order, limit or prohibit further withdrawals of water under such right as hereinabove provided, and post a copy of said order at the place where such water is withdrawn; provided, that land, not irrigated with underground water, shall not be subject to any allotment, charge, assessment, levy, or budget for, or in connection with, the distribution or delivery of water.
h. To order the installation and maintenance of approved measuring devices consistent with the purposes of section 42-701, Idaho Code.
[42-237a, 1951, ch. 200, sec. 15, as added by 1953, ch. 182, sec. 8, p. 277; am. 1977, ch. 258, sec. 1, p. 757; am. 1987, ch. 347, sec. 5, p. 745; am. 1994, ch. 430, sec. 2, p. 1390; am. 1994, ch. 450, sec. 3, p. 1436.]