IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE — WATER RIGHTS AND RECLAMATION
DISTRIBUTION OF WATER AMONG APPROPRIATORS
42-605A. Nonconsumptive water rights — Assessments — Voting. (1) Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, the setting of annual water district assessments and the voting of permitted, licensed and decreed water rights administered by the watermaster solely for nonconsumptive purposes shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of this section. For purposes of this chapter, a water right is nonconsumptive if so designated by provisions of the permit or license issued by the department of water resources, or otherwise so designated by the director, or by decree of the court allowing use of the right to continue when the diversion of earlier priority water rights from the same source has been reduced or stopped by action of the watermaster.
(2) A nonconsumptive water right is subject to the provisions of this section if water is taken into man-made facilities for beneficial use whether or not the water leaves the river or stream channel. Instream flow water rights held in the name of governmental entities or agencies for the protection of fish and wildlife habitat, aquatic life, recreation, aesthetic beauty, transportation and navigation values, and water quality shall be exempt from the payment of assessments and the rights shall not be voted. The procedure for collection and payment of the assessments shall be the same as used for consumptive water rights under this chapter.
(3) In preparing the next year’s budget, the watermaster shall determine an assessment for the ensuing year for each water right used solely for nonconsumptive purposes. The assessment shall be sufficient to pay the additional costs and expenses for watermaster services for data collection, water measurement, delivery of water, and record keeping directly attributable to delivery of the water right.
(4) The assessment shall not become final until adopted as part of the water district budget at the annual meeting of water users in accordance with section 42-612, Idaho Code. The assessment shall not exceed an amount necessary to pay for watermaster services associated with the nonconsumptive right. Nothing in this section shall affect the right, under section 42-612, Idaho Code, of the water users at the annual meeting to provide by resolution for a minimum charge for watermaster services, except as to those instream flow rights exempt from the payment of assessments under this section.
(5) The holder of a water right assessed under the provisions of this section who desires to contest the amount of an assessment for a nonconsumptive water right shall file a written petition with the director of the department of water resources stating the grounds for contesting the assessment and requesting a hearing. The petition must be filed with the director within thirty (30) days after the billing is mailed to the holder of the water right as provided in section 42-613, Idaho Code. The hearing before the director and any judicial review thereof shall be in accordance with the provisions of section 42-1701A, Idaho Code. The filing of a petition under this section shall not relieve the holder of a nonconsumptive water right from the obligation to pay the assessment when due and payable. The amount of any excessive or deficient assessment determined by a final order of the director shall be credited or collected in the succeeding year in the manner provided under section 42-606, Idaho Code.
(6) At water district meetings, each person present holding a water right used solely for nonconsumptive purposes shall be entitled to a number of votes equal to the average dollar amount and any fraction thereof assessed in accordance with subsection (3) of this section for that person’s qualifying nonconsumptive water right for the previous five (5) years, or such lesser number of years as the right has been assessed in accordance with subsection (3) of this section. If a nonconsumptive right has not been assessed in previous years using subsection (3) of this section, a person present owning or having the use of the right for the ensuing season shall be entitled to a number of votes equal to the dollar amount and any fraction thereof which the right is assessed under subsection (3) of this section for the ensuing season.
[42-605A, added 1991, ch. 101, sec. 2, p. 227; am. 1992, ch. 339, sec. 7, p. 1019; am. 2020, ch. 52, sec. 2, p. 126.]