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Senate Bill 1370 — Water, subdivisions (-2)

Senate Bill 1370 — Water, subdivisions (-2)

Parrish Miller
February 27, 2024

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1370 would limit the right of property owners in subdivisions to use private wells.

Rating: -2

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

Section 42-227, Idaho Code generally allows for property owners to drill a well for domestic use. This is an important and fundamental property right.

Senate Bill 1370 would Section 31-3805, Idaho Code, along with several additional sections of code, to significantly curtail this right. Under this change, "water for each subdivision lot in a subdivision having ten (10) or more lots that are smaller than five (5) acres shall be supplied by a shared well or public water system."

It would further require that "if subdivisions lie within the service area of a municipal provider or within one (1) mile of the service area of a municipal provider, then the shared well or public water system shall be designed to meet requirements of that municipal provider and be planned to integrate with and connect to the municipal provider's system when appropriate. The municipal provider shall be consulted in the design of the shared well or public water system to ensure proper integration. Upon connection to the municipal provider's system, the water rights associated with the subdivision's shared well or public water system shall be conveyed to the municipal provider."

The bill would also generally require that surface water be used for irrigation rather than well water. This would apply even to small areas (under half an acre) that are included in the definition of “domestic use.” 

There are many reasons why a property owner or the developer of a subdivision might prefer the independence of a private well to relying on a shared well or public water system. 

Restricting this right exacerbates the disturbing trend of coerced urbanization that is undermining the principles of self-reliance on which this nation was founded. 


Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?

In addition to the property rights issues discussed above, this bill will impose a financial and regulatory burden on subdivision developers. This would be required to connect all the properties in the subdivision to a shared well or public water system. There are also costs and delays associated with the additional requirements imposed on subdivisions that are close to the service area of a municipal provider.


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