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General Info

Wood River Valley Irrigation District #45 (WRVID45)
General Information

Updated August 2018

This section is intended to answer general questions about the irrigation district. The district is unique in that the property owner owns their individual surface water rights. The district does not own the water rights. An elected Board of Directors works to manage and conduct the business and affairs of the district.

1. Emergency (irrigation district related)


  • John Wright 775-934-6200 or
  • Justin Stevenson 208-720-1409

2. Organization

Board of Directors

  • Division 1: Riley Berman (208) 720-6557
  • Division 2: Claire Casey (208) 788-2136
  • Division 3: Greg Clark (208) 890-5369

Staff Members

  • Treasurer: Shirley Spinelli (208)481-2310
  • Secretary: Bette Gower (208)720-6344 wrvirrigation45@gmail.comAddress: PO Box 2223 Hailey Idaho 83333
  • Website:

Directors serve a staggered three (3) year term. They are elected volunteers with elections being held annually on the first Tuesday in November. The whole district elects them, not their individual division. Each property owner within the district has one vote regardless of the water rights owned or acreage of their property. To be eligible for a Director’s position you must reside within your division boundary and would represent that division. If you have an interest in running for a board seat, please contact any board or staff member for details. The district map showing the district and internal division boundaries can be found on this website.

3. Assessments

Assessments are established each year by the Board of Directors, using a budgeting process to determine the costs incurred to operate and maintain the water delivery system. The annual budget is composed of two parts: district administration costs and infrastructure operation and maintenance costs. The final annual budget can be found on this website. Assessments are mailed in early November with payment due by December 20th. However, just like property taxes, a district water right holder has the option to pay one-half (1/2) of the assessment on or before the December 20th due date, and the remaining one-half (1/2) will not become delinquent until June 20th at 5:00 pm of the following year. The district has a statutory obligation to charge interest and penalties on late payments. The assessment for each property is proportionate to the flow rate of water identified in the water rights associated with the property. The assessment calculation includes an adjustment based upon water right priorities to determine the relative time a particular water right is expected to be ‘using’ the delivery system. In other words, a ‘senior’ water right will have a higher assessment per flow rate than a ‘junior’ water right.

4. Meetings

Monthly board meetings are open to the public and are usually held every second (2nd) Tuesday of the month, in the evening. The meeting notices are posted at the Bellevue USPS, the meeting location, and on two power poles, one located at Baseline Road East & Highway 75 and one located at Kingsbury Lane & Gannett Rd. The meeting notices are posted a minimum of five (5) days prior to the meeting and on the website along with the meeting agenda. Meetings are currently being held at Clearwater Landscaping on Kingsbury Lane, Bellevue, ID. For further information on the meeting location and time you may contact any director or staff member.

5. Management

Due to legislation in 2015, the original 1915 WRVID45 was allowed to be partitioned into two sub-districts. WRVID45 is still within the area of the original 1915 boundary, but now shares this original area with a new irrigation district named the Triangle Irrigation District (TID). With some exceptions, the WRVID45 now includes the smaller acreage properties generally located in the northern section of the Bellevue Triangle, while the TID includes the larger acreage properties generally located in the southern section. Both districts jointly utilize a portion of the original water delivery infrastructure (control gates and canals), which is now referred to as ‘joint works’. Per the legislation, a new entity was created called the Board of Control (BOC) that is responsible for the management of the joint works, including operation and maintenance. Both sub-districts review and approve the BOC annual budget, participate on the BOC Board of Directors, and fund the BOC budget, proportionally, based upon the irrigated acres within each district. Currently, the WRVID45 has one appointed representative on the BOC Board, while the TID has four appointed representatives. The Board of Control meets quarterly and the meetings are open to the public. The map showing the extent of the joint works within the district can be found on this website.

6. Water Delivery

The start of water delivery can be variable depending upon spring thaw conditions, but typically begins on April 15th. Idaho Water District 37 manages water delivery from the Big Wood River into the district canal. The amount of water delivered from the river depends upon the total active water rights within the two sub-districts and the availability of water. All water rights have an origination or ‘priority’ date and are activated together at the beginning of the irrigation season, and then ‘cut’ as the water resource diminishes, typically in mid-summer. Idaho Water District 37 determines the date of each cut and the ‘depth’ or priority date, to which the cut will be made. The decision is based on water available in the river. Those with later or ‘junior’ priority dates are cut earlier than those that are ‘senior’ or older.

There are other factors besides water availability in the river that can impact water delivery. Water lost between the source, or river, and the user is referred to as ‘ditch loss’. It is water that either sinks thru the sides and banks of the ditch or is lost due to evaporation. Ditch loss is highly dependant on weather, ditch integrity, or condition, and amount of flow. A simple principle dictates that the more water there is, the easier it is to deliver. In other words, it takes water to move water.

Ditch loss becomes much more significant later in the irrigation season when the weather is hot and dry, the banks are hot and dry, and water required by senior right holders reduces the availability for smaller and junior water rights. The end of water delivery is variable from season to season depending upon water availability and is highly dependent upon the water right priority date. During dry years, a junior water right may not be activated at all.

7. District Responsibilities and Right of Way

The Board of Control (BOC) is responsible for delivering water from the Big Wood, thru the joint works’ portion of the system, to each private diversion. The BOC water master operates the private diversion gates when water is requested, and changes the amount of flow into the top of individual private ditches, when they are desired by each user. It is very important to coordinate changes; in order to ‘balance’ the water flows throughout the system.

Due to the need for coordination, the size of the system, and the large number of users, it is the responsibility of the individual user to plan ahead and notify the water master when changes are expected or desired. Notifications for changes are requested 24 hours in advance.

In addition to delivering water, the BOC is responsible for all system maintenance within the ‘joint works.’ Maintenance consists of keeping the canal or ditch free of all obstacles or impediments to water flow and the adjacent banks clear for continued, unimpeded vehicle or equipment passage necessary for keeping the water way clear. This means that, on many occasions herbicide or even controlled burning, will be used to control vegetation considered detrimental to water passage. At times, even large equipment must be used to accomplish the work.

This maintenance requires that personnel access all diversion structures and ALL stretches of the canal and ditch banks, on both sides, and thru all adjacent property. Idaho state statutes establish Right of Way corridors that allow this access wherever water conveyance systems exist, even thru private property.

As a result of this ROW, land adjacent to canal banks cannot have any type of development: bridges, fences, sprinkler systems, etc., without prior approval from the irrigation district itself. Below, or downstream, of the ‘joint works’ portions of the system, management becomes the responsibility of the sub-districts or the individual users, themselves. But no matter who manages a portion of canal, they are afforded the same right to access thru all adjacent properties thru the ROW.

The staff performing required work realizes a need to respect all private land and privacy and should contact the property owner whenever unusual maintenance activities are to take place. On the other hand, system management must be contacted whenever the property owner desires changes within the ROW. Both property owners and the system managers should work together to establish a mutually acceptable level of access to the water delivery infrastructure.

BOC staff is aware of and practice safe work procedures with regard to burning and the use of herbicides. The fire department is always notified of planned burns prior to commencement and fire suppression means are always present during this activity when needed. These maintenance activities provide for safe employee access and efficient water delivery.

8. Owner Responsibilities

There are other aspects of owning and using surface water rights that are the owner’s responsibility. These include understanding your water right(s). Water rights are issued and defined by the Idaho department of Water Resources. Irrigation water must be used for a ‘beneficial’ purpose, and the water must be used or the right can be subject to forfeiture after a period of time. There are options for protecting unused water rights, including placing (or banking) the water right into the Idaho Water Bank. The District can provide contact information to help with water right management.

It is the owner’s responsibility to build and maintain their own private water delivery diversion (head gate, ditches, pump systems, etc.), at their own expense. Each private diversion is required to have a flow rate monitoring device, such as a weir in the ditch or flow meter in the pump discharge, to allow the water master to monitor usage and support adjustment of water flows throughout the system. The Irrigation District will provide guidance regarding the installation and maintenance of private diversions, which are required to meet minimum standards as approved by the districts. Property owners need to contact the irrigation district prior to initiating new construction or improving an existing diversion.

It is important for owners to provide the Irrigation District with current contact information, including mailing address and email address for periodic correspondence and assessment purposes, and phone numbers in the event of a water delivery system related emergency.

9. Other Resources

There are several entities involved in managing and delivering surface water rights. State of Idaho: Idaho Statutes Title 43 Irrigation Districts Idaho Department of Water Resources: State-Wide Water Resource and Water Right Management Big Wood River Water District 37: Water District and Local Water Resource Management Wood River Valley Irrigation District 45: Irrigation District Infrastructure Management Board of Control: Irrigation Districts Joint Works Management (day-to-day operation and maintenance)

The Wood River Valley Irrigation District was founded in 1915 to deliver Big Wood River irrigation surface water rights to the northern section of the Bellevue Triangle. The district is managed by a few volunteer and paid personnel for the benefit of the property owners within the district. The district needs the participation and support of the district members. Please contact the district should you have any questions or would like to learn more about opportunities to get involved in managing your irrigation district.


Welcome to the Wood River Irrigation District 45 Website. Established in 1915 we are a quasi- governmental organization with an elected board of directors and appointed officers charged with delivering the water rights assigned to the members of the district. We are unique in the state of Idaho as an irrigation district. We are the only district where the water rights are owned by the individual landowners and not by the actual irrigation district. This poses distinct differences in how to deliver water based on specific water rights priorities vs. just to the total acreage as a whole.


There are three divisions within the district and each is represented by a board member. Board members serve a 3 year term on a rotational basis. Board members are elected by the whole district and not the individual division. Currently you must reside inside your division to be a board member for that division. If you have interest in running for a board seat in the division you live in, please feel free to contact any board member on details how to do so, or go to the link for Title 43 codes and find the one pertaining to elections.

Three divisions


Assessments are established every year by the Board of Directors to cover the costs incurred to run and maintain the irrigation system. Assessment are sent out in early November. Payment of 1/2 is due by December 20th of that year with the remaining 1/2 due June 20th of the following year. Assessments are just like taxes in the fact that if not paid, the District has the legal authority to charge interest and penalties on late payment as well as lien and for-close on the property after three years of unpaid assessments.

If you own the water right, you pay the assessment whether you use the water or not. Your assessment is simply the right to use the water based on Idaho Law.


Monthly board meetings open to the public are (usually) held every second (2nd) Tuesday of the month. The meeting notices are posted at the Bellevue USPS,  at the meeting place as required, and on two telephone poles (baseline road east &Highway 75 and Kingsbury Lane & Gannett Rd. Notices of meetings are posted a minimum of (5) days prior as well as on the website.  Meetings are currently being held at Clearwater Landscaping Co. on Kingsbury Lane, Bellevue, Id., . For further information contact any Director or staff member.


Water is typically turned into the canal by April 15th depending on the year, weather, and calls for water. It is typically turned off completely by October 1st. Water cuts based on year of priority take place based on available water in the Big Wood River along with priority calls from other water users. Because of substantial water conveyance loss in our systems, as the summer goes on and less and less water is available our system starts to lose its capability to deliver water rights that are still being delivered into the system. The water is literally gone before it can get to the end user.


Ditch maintenance is an on going process. For many years prior only the bare minimums were done to keep the ditches flowing. Over the past 3-5 years larger projects have been undertaken to start the process of bringing the ditches into an easily manageable and maintainable condition. There is still a long way to go, but progress will be made.

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