SUN VALLEY • Water bills passed during the 2013 legislative session primarily will help irrigation and canal districts.

Idaho lawmakers approved a dozen water bills, including a new state water plan and water-quality improvement legislation with high load totals, said Norm Semanko, executive director of the Idaho Water Users Association.

Semanko was one of several speakers who discussed Idaho water issues during the IWUA’s annual summer meeting in Sun Valley yesterday.

The majority of the bills passed benefit irrigation districts, Semanko told the water users gathered from across the state.

For example, HB 130 clarified irrigation election processes and explained what districts should do in case a director suddenly leaves or moves outside the district. Under state code, irrigation districts must hold separate elections because canals cross county lines, making it impossible for one county to oversee a district’s election.

The bill ensures that candidates seeking election are qualified before getting on the ballot and remain qualified while holding

office.

The Burley Irrigation District is already thankful for this bill, said Dan Darrington with the Cassia County Water District.

When their director temporarily had to live outside the district, the board of directors needed to know the right process to replace him.

“Anytime we have a question like that, you look to the law to make sure you’re doing it right,” he said. “Now we have the language that explains it more clearly.”

Other bills passed included setting a three-year limit on liens on delinquent canal company assessments, up from one year.

“A lot of canal companies are seeing more urbanization where people don’t always know the process like a farmer might,” Semanko said. “This gives them enough time to work with.”

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