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First in Time, First in Rights – Water Rights in Idaho

How does the state decide who gets how much water? Today, Jessa and Dr. Trina Running continues their conversation around Idaho’s water by discussing senior versus junior water rights, ground versus surface water, and how all of this works its way through Idaho’s water system.

Dr. Trina Running is a professor in the sociology, social work, and criminology department at Idaho State University. She looks at climate change and environmental justice from a social point of view - what does climate change mean for human society, and how do we help ourselves in this crisis? Continuing our conversation, Trina explains how Idaho allocates water, including the first in time first in right rule, the different between surface and ground water users, and how the state ensures senior water rights are filled.

Further resources! 

Portneuf Resource Council’s new website:

Trina Running’s website, which describes her research and has links to her publications:

The Idaho Department of Water Resources website:

Water rights overview, Idaho Department of Water Resources:

A water rights brochure distributed by the Department of Water Resources:

Article XV – Water Rights of the Constitution of the State of Idaho:

Jessa is in her final year of her undergraduate career, pursuing three majors: English with Creative Writing, History, and Global Studies with an emphasis in French Language and Literature. She is a published author through ISU's Black Rock & Sage literary magazine and hopes to join the Sustainability Club at ISU. Her sustainability journey began with her year abroad when she interned for Letters to the Earth, an organization dedicated to environmental sustainability. She hopes to work for Amnesty International until she can write books in the mountains full time.