Sunday, July 21, 2024
Click HERE to sign up to receive Eye On Sun Valley's Daily News Email
Wood River Valley’s Clashes Over Water Began 100-Plus Years Ago
Tuesday, July 13, 2021


Some 140 junior water users in the Bellevue Triangle saw their groundwater access restored a few days ago following an agreement with state officials. But not before they’d seen a week of vegetation withering during unseasonably scorching temperatures.

This is just the latest chapter in the history of fights over water in the Wood River Valley.

Historian and author John Lundin will offer a virtual talk about battles over water claims from the 1880s to the early 1900s that resulted in early and influential water laws at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 15. RSVP for the free talk with

Idaho was still a territory when the first lawsuit over water rights was filed in the River Valley in 1883. Pioneer residents began registering water rights with the county in 1880, riding by horse for days from Hailey to Rocky Bar, which was the county seat at the time.

No one monitored whether here was enough water to support the claims then and so very quickly the claims exceeded supply, said Lundin.

Lundin’s great-grandfather founded the Bellevue Water Company, building wooden pipes to replace the ditches that first carried water to the town. And his relative Neil Campbell dug a five-mile-long canal for his family in the Little Wood River Reservoir on what is now the Flat top Sheep Ranch.

 “Water in our hot, desert climate is an ongoing and vital conversation for everyone this year, from fishers to farmers, from homeowners to government entities,” said Kristin Fletcher, the library’s programs manager. “Important water laws which determine who gets water, when, and how much were often established decades ago.  Historian John Lundin will trace these historical water claims in the Wood River Valley and the many canals dug to provide water to farms and ranches, along with the litigation that resolved conflicting uses.”

 John W. Lundin, who splits his time between Seattle and Ketchum, has written and lectured extensively about Wood River Valley history, inspired by his great-grandparents Matthew and Isabelle Campbell McFall who moved to Bellevue, Idaho, in 1881 and built the McFall Hotel in Shoshone in 1900.

Lundin says he hopes to give another talk on the impact of the Reclamation Act of 1902 on Idaho later this summer.

~  Today's Topics ~

Crash Cancels Sun Valley Tour de Force Road Rally

Bruno Senna and McLaren Senna Stand Out at Sun Valley Tour de Force Car Show

Ranger Hands Out Citations as Bench Lake Fire Continues



Website problems? Contact:
Michael Hobbs
General Manager /Webmaster
Got a story? Contact:
Karen Bossick
Editor in Chief
(208) 578-2111
Advertising /Marketing /Public Relations
Leisa Hollister
Chief Marketing Officer
(208) 450-9993
Brandi Huizar
Account Executive
(208) 329-2050
ABOUT US is the largest online daily news media service in The Wood River Valley, publishing 7 days a week. Our website publication features current news articles, feature stories, local sports articles and video content articles. The Eye On Sun Valley Show is a weekly primetime television show focusing on highlighted news stories of the week airing Monday-Sunday, COX Channel 13. See our interactive Kiosks around town throughout the Wood River Valley!      Press Releases only
P: 208.720.8212
P.O. Box 1453 Ketchum, ID  83340

© Copyright 2023 Eye on Sun Valley