Water Supply Bank
The purposes of Idaho’s Water Supply Bank are to encourage the highest beneficial use of water, provide a source of adequate water supplies to benefit new and supplemental water uses, and provide a source of funding for improving water user facilities and efficiencies. The history of the Idaho Water Bank system began in the 1930s.
In its most simplistic sense, the Bank is a water exchange market operated by the Idaho Water Resource Board to facilitate the use of water rights to natural flow water or water stored in Idaho reservoirs. Water right holders can offer unused water rights to the Bank. From there, the water can be rented to people who do not have adequate water rights to meet their needs.
Categories of Water in the Bank
Idaho’s Water Supply Bank is separated into two distinct categories – the Board’s water supply bank and local rental pools.
The Board's water supply bank includes water rights from surface water and ground water sources throughout Idaho. Water rights may be leased to the Bank, if not currently in use, and rights may be rented from the Bank for beneficial uses such as commercial, industrial, irrigation, or mining. The Idaho Department of Water Resources manages the Board's water supply bank for the Idaho Water Resource Board in accordance with Idaho Code §§ 42-1761 through 42-1766 and the Water Supply Bank Rules (IDAPA 37.02.03).
Local rental pools are generally for reservoir storage water; except in the Big Wood River and Lemhi River basins where the rental pools utilize natural flow water. Rental pools are established under the same authority as the Board’s water supply bank but only pertain to specific watersheds in Idaho. Rental pools are managed by committees appointed by the Idaho Water Resource Board in accordance with local rental pool procedures, Idaho Code §§ 42-1761 through 42-1766, and the Water Supply Bank Rules (IDAPA 37.02.03). See below for local rental pool procedures and committee appointments.
The current rental rate for the Board’s water supply bank is $17 per acre-foot of water. An applicant may enter into an agreement with a water right holder to negotiate a rental fee other than the current rental rate. Ten percent (10%) of the gross rental fee will be retained by the Board for administrative costs of operating the Bank. The lessor (usually the water right holder) will receive ninety percent (90%) of the gross rental fee as payment. There is no fee to submit a rental application, only a fee once the rental is approved. There is a fee to submit a Water Supply Bank lease application.
The local rental pool committees set the price, which the Board must approve, for water that can be rented or sold from their rental pool. This price may be different for each rental pool and can be determined based on the location where the water is to be used. For additional information, contact the local rental pool representative listed in the link on the sidebar of this page.
Local Rental Pool Procedures
Notice of fee change: A rule adopted by the Idaho State Legislature requires a $250 fee be submitted with all lease applications effective April 8, 2011. If you are submitting more than one lease application and the rights have a common place of use or common diversion rate or common diversion volume, the combined maximum fee is $500. This change does NOT affect rental pools or rental applications.
State Water Supply Bank Annual Reports