Ramsden, Marfice, Ealy & Harris, LLP

Water Law

Our water law attorneys can help property owners and water permit holders with the North Idaho Adjudication process, establishing a water right through the water permit application process, or transferring or modifying an existing water right. We serve clients in Idaho and Washington.

Water Law


Unlike much of the western United States, North Idaho and Eastern Washington's natural environment has historically provided sufficient surface water and groundwater resources to meet the agricultural, commercial, and domestic needs of its resident water users. However, as North Idaho and Eastern Washington continue to experience commercial and residential growth, water users in these regions face the need to manage the available water resources to ensure an adequate supply is available to all resident users.

Water Rights

In Idaho, a water right is the right to divert the public waters of the state for the purpose of applying the water to beneficial use. Accordingly, it is a right of use and not a right of ownership. Idaho follows the "appropriation doctrine" under which those who first appropriate and apply the water to beneficial use have priority over other later appropriators of the water source.

North Idaho Adjudication

In November 2008, the North Idaho Adjudication was commenced for the purpose of adjudicating all the water rights in the Coeur d'Alene and Spokane river basins. Since this time, the IDWR has been mailing property owners within the initial basins to be adjudicated a commencement notice notifying owners of their potential right to file notice of a claim to any water right they may have. Presently, the IDWR is in the process of mailing and receiving notice of water claims as part of the adjudication process.

Claims & Transfers

The attorneys at Ramsden, Marfice, Ealy & Harris are prepared to assist and advise property owners and water permit holders with the North Idaho Adjudication process. In addition, we can assist and advise those owners who are seeking to establish a water right through the water permit application process. At RMEH, our experience with real estate development, land use and planning, business, and construction law matters has positioned us to appreciate the importance of acquiring and establishing a water right. We are prepared to represent water right and water permit holders to assure their water rights and claims are properly adjudicated and protected. We are also able to assist and advise water right holders with the transfer or modification of an existing water right.