We've contended before (at length last October) that the proposed North Idaho Adjudication - a formal legal process for determining water rights in the Idaho panhandle - is a good thing, that state officials were wise in initiating it (as they were with the Snake River Basin Adjudication to the south), and that the many people locally expressing alarm are, on balance, wrong.
But there are many of them. And their concern is fierce. So you can understand what led to one of the first significant bills (and the first on a substantive policy matter) of the new Idaho legislative session Senate Bill 1249, sponsored by the district 1 delegation (at the northernmost tip of the panhandle). It was co-sponsored by Senator Shawn Keough of Sandpoint, who had helped lead the effort originally for the adjudication; the statement of purpose says:
The purpose of this legislation is to remove Basins # 96, 97, 98, from the NIA. These basins were not scheduled to begin the adjudication process until 2011 at the earliest. An overwhelming number of residents in these basins have communicated very clearly that they do not wish to be included in this adjudication process, and that they need more time and information. This legislation provides the time by removing the basins from the list of those to be adjudicated.
The Coeur d'Alene/Spokane and Palouse basins still would be adjudicated. The others might later, if the residents come around.
Maybe they will. Meantime, even if we think the critics in those areas are wrong, we won't try to argue that their legislators should stubbornly try to jam an adjudication down the area's collective throat. That path, after all, usually leads to trouble.