Water rights

All waters of the state are owned exclusively by the state in trust for its citizens. These waters are subject to appropriation for beneficial use; and are essential to the future prosperity of the state and the quality of life within the state. As set forth in Section 73-1-3, this beneficial use shall be the basis, the measure and the limit of all rights to the use of water in the state. A “water right” is a right to divert water from its natural source to use it beneficially. The defining elements of a typical water right will include:

  • A defined nature and extent of beneficial use;
  • A priority date;
  • A defined quantity of water allowed for diversion;
  • A specified point of diversion and source of water; and
  • A specified place of beneficial use.

The Utah Division of Water Rights (UDWRi) administers Utah’s Water Right laws such as appropriation, distribution and adjudication of surface and ground water. In addition, dam safety, stream alterations, and well drilling are regulated by UDWRi

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