Palouse River

Palouse River

Water-rights claims can be filed until Aug. 30 in northern Idaho’s Palouse Basin Adjudication.

The Idaho Department of Water Resources expects about 1,500 claims to be filed by the deadline. About 900 have been submitted so far, including 665 filed in conjunction with workshops the department held in May and June in Moscow.

Idaho shares the Palouse and Coeur d’Alene-Spokane river basins with Washington state, including aquifers.

An April 10 commencement notice from Twin Falls County Fifth District Court said the purpose of the adjudication is to “obtain an inventory of water rights to assure proper delivery of water in times of shortage, and to provide certainty to property owners.”

Claimants should provide parcel and water usage details including related water-right records, when the water was first used and any information about water-use development on the site, IDWR said.

Though state law allows small domestic and stock water users to defer filing, the department encourages them to file, Coeur d’Alene-based Regional Manager Doug Jones said in an interview.

“It’s important for people to be active,” he said. “It really is an inventory and a protection for people. And it adds an asset to the property to go through the process and have a tangible document that corroborates their place in a protected string of users.”

The longstanding two-state Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee reported total groundwater pumping in 2017 was up 1.9% from the previous year but down 10.9% from 1992, when the Ground Water Management Plan was first implemented.

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