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New Book Chronicles Idaho's Snake River Water Fight

Jim Jones

Before he was a member of the Idaho Supreme Court, Jim Jones was part of the biggest water fight in the Gem State’s modern history. Jones has a new book out that chronicles that time.

Jones was elected to the first of two terms as Idaho Attorney general in 1982. Not long after he started the job, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a decision that reversed 30 years of policy and essentially gave Idaho Power priority of control over much of the water in the Snake River.

What followed was a fight between the state, led in part by Jones, the power company, and water users on the Snake. At issue was who controlled thousands of water rights on the river. It led to the Snake River Adjudication, a 27-year process of sifting through almost 160,000 water right cases.

Jones sat down to talk about his book, “A Little Dam Problem,” that chronicles his personal journey through the original water fight. He says he didn’t realize water rights were going to define his time as Attorney General.

Jones says even though he’s retired, he has a lot of irons in the fire. He’s not only working at a local law firm, he’s also writing four more books, including one based on his experience in Vietnam in 1968-9.

Support for environmental reporting on Boise State Public Radio comes in part from the Larry & Pam Cardinale Preservation Fund.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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As Senior Producer of our live daily talk show Idaho Matters, I’m able to indulge my love of storytelling and share all kinds of information (I was probably a Town Crier in a past life). My career has allowed me to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with all my friends on the radio.

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