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WATER RIGHTS 101: OVERVIEW OF UTAH WATER LAW Legislative Water Task Force June 15, 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "WATER RIGHTS 101: OVERVIEW OF UTAH WATER LAW Legislative Water Task Force June 15, 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 WATER RIGHTS 101: OVERVIEW OF UTAH WATER LAW Legislative Water Task Force June 15, 2004


3 Origin of the Doctrine of Prior Appropriation

4 Prior Appropriation Doctrine Main Features Divert water to beneficial use. Priority date. First in time, first in right. Loss of right.

5 Basic Definitions All water in the state is property of the public (73-1-1). Beneficial use shall be the basis, the measure, and the limit of all rights to the use of water in the state (73-1-3).

6 Major Elements of a Water Right Priority date. Quantity of water. –Flow rate. –Volume. Source of supply. Point(s) of diversion. Uses. –Irrigation, domestic, stock water, mining, municipal, etc. Period of use. Place of use.

7 Establishing a Water Right Diligence Claim. –Surface water uses prior to 1903. Underground Water Claim. –Ground-water uses prior to 1935. Court Decreed. Applications filed with State Engineer.

8 Mutual Irrigation Companies Water Right held by Company Individuals own shares of stock Water Distributed – Hours, Acres or Quantity Shareholders have certain rights / obligations 73-3-3.5, Change Application by shareholder

9 Filing a Water Right Application File application in proper form. Advertise for 2 consecutive weeks in local newspaper. 20 day protest period. Protested? –Hearing. Approval or rejection. –If approved, proof due date given, proof of beneficial use, certificate. Judicial Review.

10 Approval Criteria (73-3-8) Unappropriated water in source. Will not impair existing rights. Physically and economically feasible. Not monopolistic / speculation. In the public interest / welfare. Won’t effect the natural stream environment or public recreation.

11 Water Appropriation Policy

12 Change Applications Sec. 73-3-3 UCA Owner may change: –Point of diversion. –Place of use. –Nature of use. –Period of use. Pertinent facts: –Can’t impair existing rights –Can’t enlarge the underlying water right

13 Example # 1 Distribution of Water By Priority 45 Distribution Systems 41 River System 4 Ground-Water Basins Water (River) Commissioner Times of shortage – cut by priority date Cost paid by water users Annual report prepared and submitted


15 Example # 2 Beneficial Use

16 Evaluation of a Water Right Major Elements Flow: 2.50 CFS Source: Spring Creek Use: Irrigation of 100 acres Period of Use: April 1 – Oct 31 What is the beneficial use? What are the diversion and depletion limitations?

17 Irrigation Diversion Requirement for Alfalfa at Logan, Utah Crop Consumptive Use (Alfalfa) = 31.35” Effective Precipitation = 7.73” Net Irrigation Requirement = 23.62” Irrigation Practices / Efficiency Flood50% Irrigation Diversion Requirement = 47.24” Use 48” or 4.0 AF/A

18 Irrigation Return Flow Diversion = 4.0 Ac Ft/Ac ET = 2.0 Ac Ft/Ac Return Flow = 2.0 Ac Ft/Ac

19 Changing an Irrigation Water Right to Industrial Uses Water right is for 100 acre of irrigation 100 ac x 4.0 ac ft /ac = 400 ac ft Historical Depletion = 200 ac ft Industrial use is 100% consumptive Therefore, diversion & depletion limited to 200 ac ft.

20 Federal Reserved Water Rights Indian Reservations, National Forest, National Parks and other lands 1908 Winters decision 1963 Arizona v. California Quantification – primary purposes of the reservation Priority Date – date of reservation

21 The State Engineer has - “general administrative supervision of the waters of the state, and of the measurement, appropriation, apportionment and distribution thereof.” (Section 73-2-1) State Engineer meets with a water user STATE ENGINEER

22 Thank You Questions?

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