This afternoon, the Idaho State Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee held a hearing on S. 1132. This bill would clarify that only the operating irrigation agency, and not the member entities, can be held liable for damage arising from irrigation district construction, operation or maintenance when districts form an agency designed to jointly deliver water.
Mr. Norm Semanko, Executive Director of the Idaho Water Users Association, gave supporting testimony for S. 1132. He stated that a number of years ago, a lawsuit was filed against the Boise Project Board of Control. The individual districts that received water were also sued. The court ruled that the operating entity is the appropriate entity for liability, and the irrigation districts were dismissed from the case. S. 1132 simply codifies what the court said, and that only tort claims may be filed against the single operating entity, not those downstream who receive water.
After a short question and answer session, Senator Les Bock (D-Garden City, ID) moved that the committee send S. 1132 to the floor with a do-pass recommendation. Senator Sheryl Nuxoll (R-Cottonwood, ID) seconded the motion, and the committee passed the motion. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.