Water Right Transfers
Every water right consists of certain “elements” that prescribe how, when, and where water may be used under the right. These include the source of water, beneficial use, diversion rate, place of use, and priority date. A water right cannot be used in ways that exceed the parameters of these elements. For example, a water right authorized for irrigation cannot be used for industrial purposes without obtaining approval from the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) to change or “transfer” the right.
The ability to change water rights to meet new needs is critical because Idaho’s existing water supplies are, for the most part, tapped out. Opportunities for obtaining a new water right are limited. Instead, meeting new water needs most often requires purchasing and transferring existing rights.
This can be a lengthy and a daunting process. It often requires technical assistance, protests may be filed opposing the change, and there is no guarantee of success. Still, the ability to change water rights presents opportunities and rewards entrepreneurial effort and ingenuity.
We regularly assist our clients with water right transfers and have developed the expertise needed to properly evaluate and mitigate transfer risks. We put our clients in the best position to secure the transfer approvals they need, and we have the record to prove.