Through the Waters. Edited by the Idaho State Bar Water Law Section and Randy Stapilus. 300 pages. Softcover. ISBN 978-0-945648-19-2. List price $16.95.
An oral history with contributions by three dozen of the most important actors in pressing to completion the largest water adjudication in the United States, in near-record time.
It was a task many critics said could not be done – and it almost came undone at many turning points. But after 27 years the Snake River Basin Adjudication stands not only as one of the largest legal cases in American history but as a massive achievement in organizing Idaho’s most precious natural resoource – it water – and setting a framework for its management for many decades to come.
That improbable story is told here by three dozen of the people most centrally involved with it – judges (including all of the presiding judges) and justices, attorneys, legislators, engineers, water managers, water users and others with a front row seat – and a place in the room when the decisions were made. This is the inside view of how this immense project, the assignment of more than 150,000 water rights, was accomplished.
Extensive interviews and illuminating background from: all five SRBA presiding judges(Daniel Hurlbutt, Barry Wood, Roger Burdick, John Melanson and Eric Wildman), its three current special masters (Terrence Dolan, Brigette Bilyeu and Theodore Booth), leading attorneys and justices including Clive Strong, John Rosholt, Peter Monson, Jim Jones, Charles McDevitt, Ray Rigby, Duane Mecham and many more, legislators including Bruce Newcomb and Laird Noh, state water officials including David Tuthill, Karl Dreher and David Shaw, and many of the other people who pushed the adjudication through to completion.
It is the definitive story of the SRBA – and essential to understanding it.