Irrigation and Water History

Water/Irrigation HistoryWater/Irrigation History

SHRA has conducted historical research for many water users across the West. Since the mid-1990s, we have written histories and conducted research on multiple watersheds and irrigation projects. We have expertise in the history of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Projects as well as Carey Act and private irrigation projects.

We have also examined the historic character of water courses, using written documents as well as photographic evidence in order to determine historic stream flow, navigability, presence of certain landmarks or users, fish populations, etc. Our reports have been used in litigation to demonstrate the original intent of various irrigation facilities, historic crops and water demand, and impacts of ground water pumping on surface water users. Specific watersheds and projects include rivers in California, New Mexico, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nebraska, Arizona, Missouri, and Kansas.

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Surface Water Coalition 2005 Delivery Call (2005-2006)

SHRA provided historical research and an expert report to be used in a dispute between surface
and ground water users in south central Idaho characterized as “epic” by water lawyer Jeff
Fereday of Givens Pursley, LLC in Boise, Idaho. The report focused on the history of multiple
irrigation districts in the area, historical use of their respective water rights, and the history of
ground water vis a vis the surface water users.

Pioneer Irrigation District v. City of Caldwell (2006-present)

Pioneer Irrigation District waters thousands of acres of the Boise River Valley south of the Boise
River, and has been in existence for more than 100 years. SHRA was hired by the District to
research and write the history of the district’s facilities, and provide an expert analysis of the
purpose for which the canals and dams were built. Dr. Stevens has provided deposition testimony
in the case, which is expected to go to trial sometime in 2013. See recent media coverage of the
case (Idaho Press Tribune Article).

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