Water Districts &
Other Water-Related Districts
Water districts and other water-related districts are government entities that have authority to raise assessments for specific purposes authorized by Idaho Code. Idaho has several kinds of water-related districts that are unique in their purpose. A brief explanation of some of the districts is included below.
- Water Districts
Created by order of the Director of IDWR for purposes of water right administration, specifically, distribution of water from public or natural water sources in accordance with water right priority dates. Water rights administration is performed by a watermaster that is funded and elected annually by the users in the district.
- Water Measurement Districts
Created by order of the Director of IDWR for the sole purpose of measurement and reporting of water use. Hydrographers are funded and elected annually by the users in the district to provide measurement and reporting services. These districts are created in areas where measurement is required by the Director but where water rights are not yet adjudicated. These districts, if created, are generally replaced by water districts as water rights within the district become adjudicated.
- Irrigation Districts
Created pursuant to local elections authorized by a county commission upon petition of land owners. Generally created for the purpose of new irrigation development or acquiring existing irrigation projects, but may be created for other reasons. Irrigation Districts usually hold water rights and own diversion facilities and infrastructure. Irrigation Districts are governed by a set of by-laws that are created by a Board of Directors that is elected by the members of the district. Water delivery within an irrigation district is performed by irrigation district staff, referred to as "ditch riders" or "watermasters" (however, these individuals are typically not appointed by the Director of IDWR, as are water district watermasters). Irrigation districts are similar to, but are not the same as canal or ditch companies, which are private companies or cooperatives formed for purposes of delivering water to shareholders.
- Ground Water Districts
Created pursuant to local elections authorized by a county commission upon petition of land owners holding ground water irrigation rights. Created for purpose of organizing ground water irrigation users. Similar to Irrigation Districts in method of creation and organization.
Other, less commonly encountered districts include the following. For more information on these districts, contact IDWR.
- Ground Water Management Districts
Created by order of the Director of IDWR upon petition of water right holders diverting water from wells in aquifer of concern.
Created "to provide for financing of repair or abandonment of wells in aquifers which have experienced or are experiencing declines in water level or water pressures because of flow, leakage and waste from improper construction, maintenance and operation of wells drilled into the aquifer."
See Chapter 51, Title 42, Idaho Code
- Aquifer Recharge Districts
Created by order of the Director of IDWR upon petition by water right holders within proposed area. Created for purpose of raising assessments to manage and conduct recharge facilities or projects. Similar to Irrigation Districts in method of creation and organization.
See Chapter 42, Title 42, Idaho Code
- Water & Sewer Districts
These districts are organized in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 32, Title 42, Idaho Code. Water districts supply water for domestic, commerical and/or municipal purposes while sewer districts provide for sewage disposal. A district may be created for the combined purpose of water supply and sewage disposal. IDWR has no jurisdiction over these types of districts.
- Canal Companies
Privately formed companies that furnish delivery of water for irrigation purposes.
- Lateral Ditch Water Users Associations
Associations formed in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 13, Title 42, Idaho Code, and organized for the purpose of conveyance of water among several or more water users on a common ditch lateral, and maintenance of ditch laterals.