North Idaho Water Rights Adjudication

Idaho Water Rights Primer

The State of Idaho began adjudicating water rights in the Coeur d’Alene-Spokane River Basin in the spring of 2009.

The first of the three Adjudication areas is the Coeur d’Alene Spokane River Basin, so this process is called the CSRBA. The CSRBA is divided into five sub-basins, which the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) numbers 91 through 95. The CSRBA commenced at the northern end of Basin 95, when Spirit Lake area property owners received Commencement Notices allowing ninety (90) days to make a water rights claim. Bristol George, PLLC can assist these property owners with their claims.

Generally, CSRBA water rights holders within the St. Joe, St. Maries, and Coeur d’Alene River basins, including the Rathdrum Aquifer area, will be requested to submit claims to the CSRBA Court in Twin Falls, which has been chosen by the Idaho State Supreme Court as the court location for the legal action. Claims can be submitted over the internet or by mail, and videoconferencing is available for court hearings.

Bristol George, PLLC provides legal services to water rights holders submitting claims to the CSRBA Court, including the submission of domestic well and surface water claims, commercial or manufacturing claims, and municipal and water district or association claims. If any claim is objected to by the State or other party, Bristol George, PLLC is able to assist the water right holder in addressing those objections.

Mr. Macomber provides a one-hour seminar within the Coeur d’Alene-Spokane Watershed Basin to acquaint water rights holders and their agents with the process. Mr. Macomber covers the basics of the adjudication process and what a real property owner needs to do to prepare to make their claim. At the seminar, no legal advice regarding an attendee’s particular situation is provided or solicited. Attending the seminar does not make an attendee a client of Bristol George, PLLC.

The seminar goals are:

  • A brief review of Idaho water rights
  • Review general adjudication timeframes
  • To understand the adjudication process
  • To understand final decree outcomes
  • Review types of supporting documentation
  • Discuss how to manage IDWR
  • To know how to handle claims objections
  • To know when you need professional help

All water rights holders and their agents are encouraged to attend the seminar, except water users served by irrigation districts, water districts, or municipalities.

All water rights users should make a claim in this adjudication, regardless of the water source they use, including sources such as streams, lakes, wells, springs; or resource usage type, including domestic, commercial, manufacturing, mining, railroad, in-stream stock water rights, Indian reserved water rights or federal lands allocative rights. The final outcome of the adjudication’s judicial decree is to clarify your rights to use water, and your property values depend on the clarity of what rights you own to use water compared to your neighbors, just as fencing provides clarity as to the boundaries of your land.

If you would like to schedule a one-hour seminar for your organization, or discuss your water rights claim, please call the office at 208-664-4700.

Overview of the North Idaho Water Adjudication (PDF)

Glossary of Idaho Water Terms (PDF)

NOTE: As occurred in the Snake River Basin Adjudication (SRBA), the Coeur d’Alene Spokane River Adjudication (CSRBA) will allow deferral of claims by small domestic and stockwater water rights holders. Bristol George, PLLC does not suggest any water rights holder defer their claim. Please call our office for more information.