In 1927, Water Right License No. 16642, which was amended to Water Right 97-2020, was issued to the State of Idaho for preservation of said water in lake (Priest Lake) for scenic beauty, health, and recreation purposes necessary and desirable for all inhabitants of the State. The priority date for the water right is January 24, 1927, with a beneficial use designation of "Recreation Storage," with a storage volume of 800,000 acre-feet. As stated in the original license, the 800,000 acre-feet is needed to maintain the level of Priest Lake not higher than normal high-water stage and not lower than the natural low-water stage at any season of the year.
In accordance with Idaho Code § 70-507, the dam is operated to maintain the lake levels at 3.0 feet on the Priest Lake at Outlet Near Coolin ID gage (USGS No. 12393000) for recreational purposes.