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Each active water district in Idaho has a watermaster who oversees water distribution within the district. Watermasters in Idaho are appointed by the director of IDWR, but they are elected and compensated directly by district water users. Proper water distribution under Idaho water law and the appropriation system is the primary goal and responsibility of all Idaho watermasters. Daily water distribution, record keeping, measurement, and general district management are the primary duties of each watermaster.


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Watermaster Timeline

January to March

  • Schedule and Notice of Annual Meetings
    • Held on the 1st Monday in March at 2:00 pm (or 10:00 am if water district includes land in more than four counties), or held on any weekday and time set by the users between the 2nd Monday in January and the 3rd Monday in March.
    • IDWR Director sends a notice of the annual meeting date and location to users at least 21 days prior to the meeting.
  • Following the Annual Meeting
    • The meeting chairman and secretary must forward copies of the meeting minutes to IDWR within five days of the meeting. The adopted budget, along with any resolutions, must also be filed with IDWR immediately following the meeting.
    • Prior to beginning work, the watermaster, treasurer, and deputy watermasters/assistants must subscribe to an oath before a notary and be appointed by the Director of IDWR.

April to December

  • During the Irrigation Season
    • Unless users adopted a resolution that the watermaster serves all year, the watermaster does not begin work until called upon by users (a written petition from at least one water right holder/user is required) or IDWR.
    • The watermaster shall not continue work past November 1 unless the users have adopted a resolution that the watermaster serve all year or IDWR deems it necessary.
  • Following the Irrigation Season
    • The watermaster must file a report to IDWR prior to the expiration of the appointment for the current year (refer to Idaho Code § 42-606 and the Watermaster’s Report form). The report shall include the following:
      • total amount of water delivered
      • total amount delivered each year
      • total expense of delivery and apportionment of said expense to each user, along with any debits and credits that need to be carried over to the following year
    • The watermaster must also file with IDWR all daily delivery records, stream flow records or measurements, and other measurements made by the watermaster relative to delivery of water. The Watermaster’s Daily Record book provided by IDWR may be used for recording and submittal of daily delivery records. Refer to this book or form for guidelines on recording deliveries. Other resources may be available from IDWR for recording and submittal of delivery records.
    • The water district treasurer must prepare a financial statement at the end of each fiscal year and file it with IDWR. No Department form is provided for this purpose, but the statement should follow basic financial statement practices and show the district’s financial year expenses and income.
  • Prior to the Next Annual Meeting
    • Watermaster must file a proposed budget to IDWR at least 30 days prior to the annual meeting. The budget shall show:
      • estimated costs of water delivery for the ensuing year
      • apportionment of those costs to each user based on past deliveries
ver: 3.5.2a | last updated:
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