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FAQs

General NIA FAQs

An adjudication is a court proceeding that inventories and catalogs water rights existing at a snapshot in time. The court issues a decree confirming the elements of each water right. In this case, the Idaho Supreme Court designated an Idaho district court to conduct the adjudication.  IDWR aids and advises the court.

Idaho law requires the IDWR Director to serve notice by mail on each person or entity owning real property within the boundaries of the water basin being adjudicated. If you own multiple properties within the boundary, you might receive more than one Commencement Notice.

Phase 3:  Clark Fork-Pend Oreille River Basin Adjudication (CFPRBA) Commencement Notices
  • Bonner & Boundary County property owners within Basin 97 – Mailing Group 1
  • Bonner & Boundary County property owners within Basin 96 – Mailing Group 2 (pending)
  • Bonner & Boundary County property owners within Basin 96 – Mailing Group 3 (pending)
  • Bonner & Boundary County property owners within Basin 96 – Mailing Group 4 (pending)
  • Bonner & Boundary County property owners within Basin 96 – Mailing Group 5 (pending)
Phase 2:  Palouse River Basin Adjudication (CFPRBA) Commencement Notices
Phase 1:  Coeur d’Alene-Spokane River Basin Adjudication (CSRBA) – Commencement Notices:

In Idaho, establishing a water right requires that water is diverted and put to beneficial use. If there is no history of diversion and use, then a water right has not been established. 

Prior to March 25, 1963, for ground water, and May 20, 1971, for surface water, a water right could be established by simply diverting water and putting it to beneficial use.  The permit system for establishing a water right became mandatory for uses developed from ground water after March 25, 1963 (except for domestic purposes as defined by Section 42-111, Idaho Code), and for uses developed from surface water after May 20, 1971 (except for watering stock directly from streams).

No.  An adjudication is a court action for the determination of existing water rights.  When you want to begin using water, contact the Idaho Department of Water Resources to file an application for permit.

If you are supplied water by a city, water district, or other water delivery organization, that entity should file a claim for your use.

You can verify that your water delivery organization has filed a claim by using the Water Right & Adjudication Search or by contacting your water delivery organization.

There is a one-time fee associated with filing an adjudication claim. However, the amount of those fees should not result in the need for water providers to increase bills for their customers.

Water resources in the Clark Fork-Pend Oreille River Basin, Palouse River Basin, and Coeur d’Alene-Spokane River Basin, including significant underlying aquifers, are shared with the State of Washington. Both Idaho and Washington desire to reach agreement on how the waters of these resources will be used. To best protect the interests of Idaho water users, Idaho’s water managers must know the extent of the valid water rights in Idaho. An adjudication is the only way to determine this.  

In addition, population growth in northern Idaho is adding pressure on water resources.  According to the Idaho Constitution and Idaho law, in a time of water shortage, Idaho water right holders with older water rights have priority over newer water rights.  This is sometimes called the “first in time is first in right” principal.  For each water right, the date of first water use is called the priority date.  An adjudication is the only way to determine the relative priorities of all the water rights diverted from a water source.

No.  An adjudication determines the priority and other elements of existing water rights.  It does not address the day-to-day administration of water rights.  This is not to say IDWR would never require a well to be metered.  For example, if a dispute arose between water users over the impact of ground water pumping on the supply of water available to water right owners, IDWR may require metering of the wells involved in the dispute.  However, IDWR does not have the directive, need, or resources to require meters on all private domestic wells.

A combination of water right claim filing fees and Idaho General Tax Fund appropriations will pay for the adjudication. Current estimates place the ratio at approximately 1/10 fees and 9/10 general fund dollars.

Yes, most claimants complete the Notice of Claim forms without requiring additional assistance. The online, claim-filing procedure steps you through the process. To get started, review the Before You Start information on the Online Claims Taking page.

If you prefer to submit a paper form, visit the File a Claim page.

If an adjudication claim is required for your water use, failure to file that claim before the final decree will result in a determination that the water right no longer exists. However, as stated on page 2 of the Commencement Notice, water users with small domestic and/or stockwater rights, as defined in Idaho Code §§ 42-111 & 42-1401A, may defer (postpone) filing a claim until a later time in the adjudication proceeding.  Although a deadline for filing claims for these “deferrable” domestic and stockwater rights has not been set, the opportunity to defer filing is not indefinite.  At some future time, the court will establish a filing deadline for small domestic and stockwater rights.  IDWR recommends filing a claim for a small domestic or stockwater right now and not deferring.

Adjudication Claim versus Application for Permit

Notice of Claim to a Water Right is filed with IDWR in water rights adjudications. An adjudication is a court action for the determination of existing water rights, which results in a decree that confirms and defines each water right. For the CSRBA, all uses established on or before November 12, 2008 are considered existing.

New water rights are established through the IDWR permitting process using an Application for Permit. For purposes of the CSRBA, water uses first occurring after November 12, 2008 are considered new water rights.

No, an adjudication is a court action for the determination of existing water rights. When you want to begin using the water, contact IDWR to file an Application for Permit.

Yes, the IDWR permitting process is for purpose of establishing new water rights.

Yes, the adjudication process is separate from the IDWR permit/license procedure. The ability to file an Application for Permit for purposes of establishing new water rights will not change. IDWR encourages water users to talk with IDWR’s water agents about all of the claimant/permittee’s uses of water.

CSRBA FAQs

PRELIMINARY MAILING - Basin 95: Part 1

In the Preliminary Director’s Report, IDWR issued a Preliminary Recommendation for the elements of each water right claimed, and mailed the draft recommendations to the claimants. The Preliminary Recommendations were not filed with the CSRBA Court. The Preliminary Director’s Report is a helpful tool in that it gives claimants and IDWR the opportunity to correct errors before the Director’s Report for Basin 95: Part 1 is filed with the CSRBA Court.

No, submitting a Notice of Error reply is not required to move forward in the CSRBA. The Notice of Error process gives the water right claimant the opportunity to review the recommendation and request corrections informally before the recommendation is submitted to the CSRBA Court. There will be another opportunity to address errors and/or disagreements over the elements after the Director’s Report for Basin 95: Part 1 is filed.

The Notice of Error form is mailed to the claimant at the same time as the Preliminary Recommendations.

Yes, according to the procedural rules of the CSRBA, a claimant may file a claim with IDWR directly as long as the Director’s Report for that particular reporting area (basin, part, and so forth) has not been filed with the CSRBA Court.

However, even if a claimant did not file a claim before the issuance of the Director’s Report for Basin 95: Part 1, there is still the opportunity to file a late claim. The claimant would file a Motion to File Late Notice of Claim (Standard Form 4) with the CSRBA Court. Along with that Motion, the claimant would need to file a completed Notice of Claim to a Water Right and pay both the claim filing fee and a late claim fee.

At this time, no basin has been closed in the CSRBA.

If the Director’s Report in a reporting area (for example, Basin 95: Part 1) has not yet been filed, a claimant may amend the claim directly with IDWR by filing an amended Notice of Claim to a Water Right (paper form). Additional filing fees may apply.

After IDWR files the Director’s Report in a reporting area (for CSRBA, the reporting area is Basin 95: Part 1), a claimant must complete the Motion to File Amended Notice of Claim (Standard Form 3) and file it with the CSRBA Court. The CSRBA Court may require a hearing on the motion.

Claims taking will continue in the CSRBA until the CSRBA Court closes a basin. Closure will be preceded by notice from the Court of its intended action, which will provide sufficient time to file any last-minute claims, and a hearing on the closure.

It depends. Water uses for small domestic and/or stockwater rights as defined by Idaho Code §§ 42-111 & 42-1401(A) may defer the filing until a later time in this proceeding.

However, filing a claim on your domestic use now is an easy and relatively-inexpensive method to obtain a water right for your domestic water use by CSRBA Court decree.

For more information, see the CSRBA Court’s Order Establishing Procedures for the Adjudication of De Minimis Domestic and Stockwater Claims in the Coeur d’Alene-Spokane River Basin Adjudication, or contact an IDWR water agent and explain your water uses.

Use the Water Right & Adjudication Search to view water right records and associated documents. You can research information by water right number, your name, your company’s name, address, and so forth.

Alternatively, you may review the original application or claim and supporting information in the IDWR office where it was filed. To determine which IDWR office to visit, use the first two digits in the claim number which correspond to the IDWR Administrative Basins administered by the regional offices.

  1. Visit the CSRBA Subcase Summary Report page.
  2. In the Basin text box, type your basin number.
  3. In the Subcase text box, type your sequence number and suffix (if any).
  4. Click Submit Request.

If you have difficulties, contact the CSRBA Court at (208) 736-3011 or contact IDWR.

Water Right Number Format

Water Right numbers can contain three components: Basin number, Sequence number, and sometimes a Suffix.

Example:  95-1234A

95= Basin1234= SequenceA= Suffix

Over 5,500 Preliminary Recommendations were mailed to water right claimants in February 2018 as part of the Basin 95: Part 1 Preliminary Director’s Report. As a result, a large number of water right holders might have questions concerning their recommendations. Therefore, if you wish to speak with an IDWR water agent at either the Coeur d’Alene or main Boise office, we strongly recommend that you call us and set up an appointment.

PRBA FAQs

Yes, according to the procedural rules of the PRBA, a claimant may file a claim with IDWR directly as long as the Director’s Report for that particular reporting area (basin, part, and so forth) has not been filed with the Idaho Water Adjudications Court.

However, even if a claimant did not file a claim before the issuance of the Director’s Report for Basin 87 (PRBA), there is still the opportunity to file a late claim. The claimant would file a Motion to File Late Notice of Claim (Standard Form 4) with the Idaho Water Adjudications Court. Along with that Motion, the claimant would need to file a completed Notice of Claim to a Water Right and pay both the claim filing fee and a late claim fee.

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