The decision is in: the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the "first in time, first in right" principle must be applied in the context of "beneficial use." So the dispute between surface water and groundwater users goes back to the negotiating table. View the "Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer update" Windows Media icon from Dialogue (March 2007)

The Idaho Supreme Court is considering one of the most significant water rights cases to ever impact the state. If the high court upholds a district court ruling, hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland in eastern Idaho could dry up. View "Water Rights Showdown" Windows Media icon from Dialogue (January 2007).

Bills aimed at settling water rights conflicts on the Eastern Snake Plain aquifer got caught in the crossfire when the Governor and the House went to war over financing roads. View a "Water Conflicts Update" Windows Media icon from Dialogue (March 2005).

Idaho Public Television presents a two-part examination of key water issues facing the current session of the Idaho Legislature. The specials cover issues currently under negotiation.

person net fishingDIALOGUE presents TAPPED OUT: IDAHO'S WATER CRISIS "Nez Perce Water Agreement." Host Marcia Franklin looks at the Nez Perce Water Agreement involving treaty water rights and flow requirements.

The March 31, 2005 deadline for the proposed agreement to be approved by the Legislature and the Nez Perce tribe is fast approaching. The agreement has already been ratified by the U.S. Congress, the Idaho House, and the Idaho Senate. Supporters of the deal believe it will guarantee southern Idaho water users jurisdiction over their water. Opponents argue that the agreement could compromise private property rights and restrict some uses of public land.

Winner of a 2006 Northwest regional Emmy

field irrgationIDAHO REPORTS presents TAPPED OUT: IDAHO'S WATER CRISIS "Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer." Joan Cartan-Hansen hosts. This program looks at the history and elements of the dispute, which threatens to pit longtime holders of groundwater rights (e.g., irrigators) against holders of historic spring water rights (e.g., trout farmers).

Video segments

Regional Water News



Water Rights: Info and Resources (Idaho Department of Water Resources)

Idaho Statutes: Water Rights and Reclamation

Idaho Department of Water Resources (home page)

FocusWest: Draining the West? (a comprehensive look at water issues in the West, including the Nez Perce claims to Snake River water)

Judge Dan Hurlbutt Explains Water Policy (from the IdahoPTV production, "The Bureau That Changed the West," on the US Bureau of Reclamation)

Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer

Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer Mitigation, Recovery and Restoration Agreement for 2004 [PDF]

Conceptual Settlement Framework, Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer [PDF]

Assessment of Relative Economic Consequences of Curtailment of Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer Ground Water Irrigation Rights [Snyder study; PDF]

Water Key to Magic Valley economy (account of a UI Extension report on the value of irrigation water to the Magic Valley economy)

Nez Perce agreement

Snake River Basin Adjudication (IDWR site)

SBRA on the web (Court site)

Snake River Water Rights Act of 2004 (from PL108-447, US Congress)

Idaho Water Users (principal advocate for the Nez Perce agreement)

Snake River Currents (Nez Perce newletter dedicated to SBRA issues)