A few thoughts on water rights and wells

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Sen. Jim Woodward,

Thanks for the article in the Daily Bee Sunday (March 3, 2019). A few years back I became quite concerned about the Ravenwood Development as several of the new “neighbors” were adding more wells than the already drilled one water well on their 5 (or less) acres included in the property purchase.

During one of the drought summers my well started bringing up sand from 180 feet deep. Our well had produced over 16 gallons/minute until the drought of that one particular year when more than one well per 5 acres occurred. We had had water on for irrigation to the garden, pasture and dishwasher, plus a few other places for intermittent use. Concerned about my neighbors with two or more wells per 5 or less acres, I obtained an Idaho state hydrologist phone number in Boise on how much water could be utilized. Basically 5 acres or less would be legitimate with one well. More wells could be possibly drilled (if they had enough money) but should the water table drop, the new wells and owners were legally eligible to be a “CIVIC” suit. As far as I was aware, the new owners were not knowledgeable on the limitation. Your article on “water rights” states “a well drilled for an individual house does not require a water right.” Next sentence says otherwise for surface water use or groundwater water use other than residential, a water right is required.

We have let the lawn turn brown in drought situations while “others” have quite green lawns etc. It would be greatly appreciated to make the others aware of the legal situations, common sense is more appreciated than a legal suit. Incidentally we bought and built far before the Ravenwood property was even bought and planned into 5-acre plats for development (and yes, other houses are encroaching as well).

Thank you for your consideration.

PETER HERAPER, M.D. (ret.)

Sandpoint

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