Norman Semanko is a recognized authority and leading figure in the world of water West-wide. His comprehensive practice blends consultation with governmental affairs and litigation to provide tailored legal services and consistent results for the firm’s clients.



Norman Semanko is the firm’s water law practice group leader in the Pacific Northwest Region. He has more than 30 years of experience with water resources, environmental, natural resources, land use, public lands and regulatory issues.

Mr. Semanko represents clients from Parsons' Boise and Idaho Falls offices on water law, environmental and land use matters before government agencies and in state and federal courts. He has been an adjunct professor and lecturer at several law schools and colleges and is a frequent conference speaker. He has testified before Congress, State legislative committees and other governmental bodies on numerous occasions.

Mr. Semanko has represented clients in Endangered Species Act, National Forest Management Act, NEPA and APA litigation in federal courts, involving salmon, steelhead and caribou as well as recreational access issues.

Mr. Semanko currently serves as general counsel for the Family Farm Alliance and as vice chairman of the Litigation Review Committee for the National Water Resources Association (NWRA). He is also a member of the Litigation Advisory Committee for the Mountain State Legal Foundation. He is a past president of NWRA and was previously chairman of NWRA's Federal Affairs Committee. He has served as a member of the Western States Water Council and the Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force.

Mr. Semanko previously served as executive director and general counsel for the Idaho Water Users Association, monitoring water issues, analyzing federal and state legislation and regulations, advocating in the State Legislature, before Congress, and various agencies and provided legal advice and services to the Association, including litigation and appeals. He also served as a legislative assistant in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, handling water, environment and natural resource issues.

Mr. Semanko has been recognized as an “Idaho Leader in Law” by the Idaho Business Review.

Mr. Semanko is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center where he served as Student Bar Association vice president and was a member of the Craven Constitutional Law Moot Court team. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Idaho.


Title Transfer of Irrigation Drains

Representing client in title transfer proceedings involving proposed transfer of irrigation drains. Submitted comments on draft Environmental Assessment and negotiated with involved parties to address concerns about transfer.

Water Treaty Negotiations

Representing client in water treaty negotiations and advocating for client's position with various government entities and stakeholders.

Federal Reserved Water Rights

Assisted clients against more than 150 claims to federal reserved water rights which put at risk the water supply for residents and businesses.



Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., 1993)

University of Idaho (B.S., Political Science, 1988)

2004, Adjunct Professor, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho -- “Natural Resource Law” and “Environmental Health Law”

1994-1996, Instructor, College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls, Idaho -- ”Legal Issues in Water Management”


Recognized in Chambers USA, Natural Resources & Environment, Idaho

Executive Director & General Counsel, Idaho Water Users Association (2000-2017)

Leadership Award, National Water Resources Association (2017)

Leaders in Law, Idaho Business Review (2016)

Legislative and Policy Award, National Water Resources Association (2011)

President, National Water Resources Association (2005-2006)

Accomplished under 40, Idaho Business Review (2005)

Water Statesman, Idaho Water Users Association (2005)

Distinguished Service, Northwest Irrigation Operators (2005)

President’s Award, National Water Resources Association (1994 & 2003)



Legal Advisory Council, Mountain States Legal Foundation (2021-present)

General Counsel, Family Farm Alliance (2018-present)

Litigation Review Committee Vice-Chair, National Water Resources Association (2017-present)   

Registered Lobbyist, Idaho State Legislature (1994-present)

President, Food Producers of Idaho (2009-2011)

Chair, Environmental & Regulatory Affairs Committee, Idaho Council on Industry & the Environment (2009-present)

Eagle Citizens’ Water Committee (2006-2007)

President, Idaho Council on Industry and Environment (2005-2006)

President, Coalition for Idaho Water (2000-2010)

Western States Water Council (appointed by Gov. Kempthorne, reappointed by Gov. Otter) (2000-2008)

Speaker of the House Newcomb’s Private Property Rights Ad-Hoc Committee (2002-2003)

Chairman, Federal Affairs Committee, National Water Resources Association (2000-2004/2009-2013)

Board of Directors, National Water Resources Association (1999-2017)

Co-Chair, Water & Property Rights Committee, National Water Resources Association (1998-2000)

Board of Directors, Idaho Council on Industry and the Environment (1995-present)

Advisory Committee, Family Farm Alliance (1993-present)

Water Quality & Water Quantity Committees, Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (1993-2006)

Chairman, Water Law Section, Idaho State Bar Association (1996-1998)

Vice Chairman, Natural Resources & Environment Section, Idaho State Bar Association (1995-1996)

Chairman, Fifth District Bar Association (1995-1996)


Rotary Club of Boise (2004-2018)

Twin Falls Rotary Club (1996-2000)

Board of Directors, Boise Elevated (2012-2016)


Chairman, Idaho Republican Party

General Counsel, Republican National Committee (for RNC Chairs Michael Steele and Reince Priebus)

President, Eagle City Council

Legislative Assistant and Field Representative in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives





U.S. Dist. Court, Dist. of Idaho
U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
U.S. Court of Federal Claims


Georgetown University Law Center