Idaho Water Supply Bank

Overview of the Idaho Water Supply Bank

The Idaho Water Resource Board (Board) has the authority to operate the Idaho Water Supply Bank (Bank). The purposes of the 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 (Section 42-1761, Idaho Code). The Bank is essentially a water exchange market operated by the Board to assist in marketing the water rights of natural flow and water stored in Idaho reservoirs. It is a mechanism by which water rights that are not being used can be made available for use by others through the lease and rental process.

The Bank includes two distinctly different categories of exchange markets. The first manages water stored in reservoirs called Rental Pools. The second is called the Board’s Water Supply Bank (Board’s bank), which manages the exchange of natural flow water rights (surface and ground water) and privately held storage water rights.

Board's Bank

While local committees oversee operation of the Rental Pools, the Director of the Idaho Department of Water Resources (Director, department) administers the Board’s bank on behalf of the Board (Water Supply Bank Rules, IDAPA 37.02.03, Board Resolutions May 16, 1997, December 11, 1998).

Applications to lease and rent water from the Board’s bank are currently received and processed by the department. Unless a resolution is specifically required by the Board, these applications are approved by the Director or other authorized department staff.

The owner or other authorized agent may offer to lease all or a portion of a water right to the Board’s bank by filing an Application to Lease a Water Right to the Board’s Water Supply Bank. Water authorized for diversion under a leased right is then made available for rent by another water user. A party may request to rent water from the Board’s bank for a fee by filing an Application to Rent Water from the Board’s Water Supply Bank.

The department identifies whether one of the rights in the Board’s bank meets the needs of the renter and whether rental of the specific right for the proposed use is consistent with the rules of the Board’s bank. The water right owner, or lessor, receives a payment only if a rental is executed on the water right in a given year.

In accordance with Section 42-1764, Idaho Code, rental of water from the Board’s bank may be a substitute for the transfer proceeding requirements of Section 42-222, Idaho Code. Therefore, rental of water under a water right in the Board’s bank can authorize a change in point of diversion, place of use, or nature of use. However, this is typically authorized for only a short-term period. For rentals of more than five (5) years, the department is required to publish notice and obtain Board review. Additionally, the department will not rent water on a temporary basis for a use that requires a permanent water right unless the renter can demonstrate a reasonable effort is being made to provide for the long-term water use. 

Contact Idaho Water Supply Bank

Remington Buyer, Water Supply Bank Coordinator
Idaho Department of Water Resources
322 East Front Street
Boise, Idaho  83720
Phone: (208) 287-4918
Fax: (208) 287-6700


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