Below are frequently asked questions that may help answer any questions you may have. If your question is not listed here, please contact us.
Who is the Squaw Creek Ditch Company?
Squaw Creek Ditch Company (the company) was formed in 1896, is a privately-formed, Idaho nonprofit, fee collecting company that delivers water to its shareholders for irrigation purposes. The Company’s place of use is found at the Idaho Department of Water Resources and generally defined through Idaho Code and the Snake River Basin Adjudication.
What is the purpose of Squaw Creek Ditch Company?
Squaw Creek Ditch’s primary purpose is to deliver irrigation water via the Squaw Creek Ditch (Ditch) to the headgates of its stockholders situated within the Company’s service area.
Can I use the water in the ditch that runs through my property?
Yes, if you are a current shareholder and have paid your annual assessment.
When is the annual meeting?
The first Monday of every February, annually. Meeting place to be determined, check website and Facebook for the location.
When is my bill due every year?
By March 15 every year and considered delinquent April 15. A 12% annual fee to be charged on delinquent accounts.
What is the annual assessment and EMF fee?
At Squaw Creek Ditch’s annual meeting, the stockholders in good standing shall meet and determine the Annual Assessment which shall consist of two parts: a per-share assessment, and an “emergency maintenance fee” (EMF). The per-share assessment shall be determined by dividing Company’s annual operating budget by the number of issued and outstanding shares of the Company. In determining the per-share assessment, the stockholders may take into account existing debt service, delinquent accounts, and other contingencies. In addition to this per-share assessment, each stockholder/landowner shall pay an EMF to be determined by the stockholders, for foreseeable or unforeseeable repairs and upkeep of the Ditch, fixtures, and irrigation system of the Company. Together, the per-share assessment and the EMF shall be referred to as the Annual Assessment.
When does the water turn on and off?
Weather permitting, delivery of said irrigation water shall commence on or about April 15th each year, and cease on or about October 15th. Delivery of water past the head gates to the laterals, including resolution of lateral disputes, shall be the sole responsibility of the stockholders. Weather permitting, delivery of stock water to stockholders shall be at the Company’s convenience. The Company shall have no responsibility to manage or control drainage or seasonal runoff on or from a stockholder’s property.
Can I plant trees/shrubs on the ditch?
No. You may not plant on the ditch’s right of way and easement.
Where is the office located?
We do not have a physical office. The ditch company is comprised of mostly volunteers who work out in the field, and from their homes. You can mail us at PO Box 16, Sweet, ID 83670.
Can I rent my water shares?
Squaw Creek Ditch Rental Pool: The Company shall establish a mechanism to create an annual “Rental Pool” for the seasonal rental of stock by and between Company shareholders only. The practical application of the rental pool is to temporarily adjust water within the Company’s place of use to allow increased access to those who have a greater need for water. All rental of stock must be approved by the Board in its sole discretion, but in no case shall any such rental: (i) be construed as a transfer of water rights, (ii) cause any harm to other stockholders, (iii) conflict with applicable Idaho Code, or (iv) violate the Snake River Basin Adjudication decrees.
The Rental Pool shall consist of Company shares both in good standing and those that are delinquent (see Article 8). Shareholders having shares to rent (Lessors) and those who wish to rent those shares (Lessees) shall promptly notify the Company of their intended status within a week after the annual meeting.
The Board shall set a Rental Pool Fee payable as follows: Shares in Good Standing. The Lessee shall pay the Lessor’s annual assessment plus a Administrative Fee of $100 to aid with costs associated with management of the Rental Pool. Payment of the Rental Pool Fees must be made to the Company prior to delivery of water to the Lessee. (b) Delinquent Shares. The Lessee shall pay the Administrative Fee, plus the Lessor’s current annual assessment, plus a negotiated delinquent assessment. Payment of the Rental Pool Fees must be made to the Company prior to delivery of water to the Lessee.
Who maintains the ditch?
Squaw Creek Ditch shall operate, maintain, protect, repair and replace the Ditch and all essential and proper parts thereof, at the Company’s expense, during the life of the Company.
What is easement and right of way?
Except in cases where a right-of-way has been duly conveyed and/or recorded, the Company has an historical easement by prescription over all land on which the Ditch is located. The width of the Ditch right-of-way acquired by prescription is that width which historically has been used by the Company in its act of constructing, maintaining, managing, overseeing, cleaning, repairing, reconstructing and improving the Ditch. The width includes, but is not limited to:
(a) the area between the two banks of the Ditch where the water shall naturally run,
(b) the banks themselves,
(c) the roadway or roadways on the banks of the Ditch which have been used to
construct, maintain, repair, and oversee the distribution of water from the Ditch,
(d) the cut bank or the area from which excavations have been necessarily made to
construct or maintain the Ditch,
(e) the area where fill has been added to construct or maintain the Ditch.
Can I build a fence on or across the canal?
Except in the case of a public emergency no landowner or any other person or entity shall temporarily or permanently erect, place, suffer, or permit anything to be placed or located in, on, or under the Ditch or the Company’s Ditch Right-of-Way without the prior express permission of the Company. These include without limitation: people, pipes, rocks, pumps, bridges, planks, walkways, cables, wires, structures, buildings, poles, ramps, corrals, loading chutes, sheds, improvements, equipment, obstructions, or anything which blocks the free and unobstructed use and passage over the entire width of the Ditch Right-of-Way. However, a landowner shall be permitted to erect on his property boundaries a fence up to the roadway used to construct and maintain the Ditch. In no case, shall a landowner construct a fence across the roadway, but a landowner may place a metal pipe panel sixteen feet (16 ‘) in width across the roadway. The panels and location of the fences must be approved in writing by the Company. Also, the panel may not be locked but may be latched by a method which permits it to be entirely removed and laid on the ground by the Company or its agent(s).
Does my neighbor have the right to enter my property at will to access the ditch?
I didn't receive notification of the meeting
At least ten (10) days prior to said annual meeting, a notice setting out the time and place of such annual meeting shall be placed on the Company’s website and delivered to each stockholder using USPS, or any appropriate electronic service, including robo-calls, social media, and/or emails. Any notice under this paragraph shall be sent to the stockholder at their physical or electronic address as it appears in the Company’s database. The shareholder is responsible to ensure the Company has current contact information, including mailing address, main phone number, and email.
Water Rights vs. Water Shares
Squaw Creek Ditch Co owns the water rights and the ditch. Shareholders own shares for the use of the water (use entitlement).
Can I keep my shares and sell my property?
No. Water shares are appurtenant to the ground. In other words, if you sell the property, the shares go with the new owner.
Are my water shares my personal property?
No. Typical non-water based stock is treated as personal property. Water shares are different. Water shares are worthless absent access to Squaw Creek Ditch’s water rights behind the shares and water rights are appurtenant to the ground.