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7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This bill amends provisions relating to water rights used for watering livestock on
10 public land and claims to surface or underground water not already represented, and
11 requires the Department of Natural Resources to complete a study.
12 Highlighted Provisions:
13 This bill:
14 . allows a person who holds a grazing permit from a public land agency to access and
15 improve the permitted grazing area as necessary to beneficially use, develop, and
16 maintain the person's water right that is appurtenant to the grazing area;
17 . requires the state engineer to provide copies of claims to water not already
18 represented that are filed by the federal government to the Natural Resources,
19 Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee;
20 . requires the Department of Natural Resources to study the state's jurisdiction over
21 water rights and report to the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment
22 Interim Committee; and
23 . makes technical changes.
24 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
26 Other Special Clauses:
27 This bill provides a repeal date.
28 Utah Code Sections Affected:
30 73-3-31, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2009, Chapter 285
31 73-5-13, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2001, Chapter 136
32 Uncodified Material Affected:
33 ENACTS UNCODIFIED MATERIAL
35 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
36 Section 1. Section 73-3-31 is amended to read:
37 73-3-31. Water right for watering livestock on public land.
38 (1) As used in this section:
39 (a) "Acquire" means to gain the right to use water through obtaining:
40 (i) an approved application to appropriate water; or
41 (ii) a perfected water right.
42 (b) "Allotment" means a designated area of public land available for livestock grazing.
43 (c) (i) "Beneficial user" means the person that has the right to use the grazing permit.
44 (ii) "Beneficial user" does not mean the public land agency issuing the grazing permit.
45 (d) "Grazing permit" means a document authorizing livestock to graze on an allotment.
46 (e) "Livestock" means a domestic animal raised or kept for profit or personal use.
47 (f) "Livestock watering right" means a right for:
48 (i) livestock to consume water:
49 (A) directly from the water source located on public land; or
50 (B) from an impoundment located on public land into which the water is diverted; and
51 (ii) associated uses of water related to the raising and care of livestock on public land.
52 (g) (i) "Public land" means land owned or managed by the United States or the state.
53 (ii) "Public land" does not mean land owned by:
54 (A) the Division of Wildlife Resources;
55 (B) the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration; or
56 (C) the Division of Parks and Recreation.
57 (h) "Public land agency" means the agency that owns or manages the public land.
58 (2) On or after May 12, 2009, a livestock watering right may only be acquired by a
59 public land agency jointly with a beneficial user.
60 (3) The state engineer may not approve a change application under Section 73-3-3 for a
61 livestock watering right without the consent of the beneficial user.
62 (4) A beneficial user may file a nonuse application under Section 73-1-4 on a livestock
63 watering right or a portion of a livestock watering right that the beneficial user puts to
64 beneficial use.
65 (5) A livestock watering right is appurtenant to the allotment on which the livestock is
67 (6) (a) (i) A beneficial user or a public land agency may file a request with the state
68 engineer for a livestock water use certificate.
69 (ii) The state engineer shall:
70 (A) provide the livestock water use certificate application form on the Internet; and
71 (B) allow electronic submission of the livestock water use certificate application.
72 (b) The state engineer shall grant a livestock water use certificate to:
73 (i) a beneficial user if the beneficial user:
74 (A) demonstrates that the beneficial user has a right to use a grazing permit for the
75 allotment to which the livestock watering right is appurtenant; and
76 (B) pays the fee set in accordance with Section 73-2-14 ; and
77 (ii) the public land agency if the public land agency:
78 (A) (I) demonstrates that the public land agency owns a livestock watering right; or
79 (II) issues a grazing permit for the allotment to which the livestock watering right is
80 appurtenant; and
81 (B) pays the fee set in accordance with Section 73-2-14 .
82 (c) A livestock water use certificate is valid as long as the livestock watering right is:
83 (i) put to beneficial use within a seven-year time period; or
84 (ii) subject to a nonuse application approved under Section 73-1-4 .
85 (7) A beneficial user may access or improve an allotment as necessary for the
86 beneficial user to beneficially use, develop, and maintain the beneficial user's water right
87 appurtenant to the allotment.
88 Section 2. Section 73-5-13 is amended to read:
89 73-5-13. Claim to surface or underground water not otherwise represented --
90 Information required -- Corrections -- Filing -- Investigation -- Publication -- Judicial
91 action to determine validity -- Rules.
92 (1) (a) All claimants to the right to the use of water, including both surface and
93 underground, whose rights are not represented by certificates of appropriation issued by the
94 state engineer, by applications filed with the state engineer, by court decrees, or by notice of
95 claim filed pursuant to law, shall submit the claim to the state engineer.
96 (b) Subsections (2) through (7) shall only apply to claims submitted to the state
97 engineer pursuant to this section after May 4, 1997.
98 (2) (a) Each claim submitted under this section shall be verified under oath by the
99 claimant or the claimant's duly appointed representative and submitted on forms furnished by
100 the state engineer setting forth any information the state engineer requires, including:
101 (i) the name and post office address of the person making the claim;
102 (ii) the quantity of water claimed in acre-feet or rate of flow in second-feet, or both,
103 where appropriate;
104 (iii) the source of supply;
105 (iv) the priority date of the right;
106 (v) the location of the point of diversion with reference to a United States land survey
108 (vi) the place of use;
109 (vii) the nature and extent of use;
110 (viii) the time during which the water has been used each year; and
111 (ix) the date when the water was first used.
112 (b) The claim shall also include the following information verified under oath by a
113 registered engineer or land surveyor:
114 (i) measurements of the amount of water diverted;
115 (ii) a statement that the quantity of water claimed either in acre-feet or cubic feet per
116 second is consistent with the beneficial use claimed and the supply which the source is capable
117 of producing; and
118 (iii) a map showing the original diversion and conveyance works and where the water
119 was placed to beneficial use, including irrigated lands, if irrigation is the claimed beneficial
121 (c) The state engineer may require additional information as necessary to evaluate any
122 claim including:
123 (i) affidavits setting forth facts of which the affiant has personal knowledge;
124 (ii) authenticated or historic photographs, plat or survey maps, or surveyors' notes;
125 (iii) authenticated copies of original diaries, personal histories, or other historical
126 documents which document the claimed use of water; and
127 (iv) other relevant records on file with any county recorder's, surveyor's, or assessor's
129 (3) (a) A claim may be corrected by submitting to the state engineer a verified
130 corrected claim designated as such and bearing the same number as the original claim.
131 (b) No fee shall be charged for submitting a corrected claim.
132 (4) (a) [
133 acceptably complete under Subsection (2) and [
134 money with the state engineer sufficient to pay the expenses of conducting a field investigation
135 and publishing a notice of the claim, the state engineer shall:
136 (i) file the claim;
137 (ii) endorse the date of its receipt;
138 (iii) assign the claim a water right number; [
139 (iv) publish a notice of the claim following the same procedures as provided in Section
140 73-3-6 [
141 (v) if the claimant is the federal government or a federal agency, provide a copy of the
142 claim to the members of the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim
144 (b) Any claim not acceptably complete under Subsection (2) shall be returned to the
146 (c) The acceptance of any claim filed under this section by the state engineer may not
147 be considered to be an adjudication by the state engineer of the validity of the claimed water
149 (5) (a) The state engineer shall:
150 (i) conduct a field investigation of each claim filed; and
151 (ii) prepare a report of the investigation.
152 (b) The report of the investigation shall:
153 (i) become part of the file on the claim; and
154 (ii) be admissible in any administrative or judicial proceeding on the validity of the
156 (6) (a) Any person who may be damaged by a diversion and use of water as described
157 in a claim submitted pursuant to this section may file an action in district court to determine the
158 validity of the claim, whether or not the claim has been accepted for filing by the state
160 (b) Venue for the action shall be in the county in which the point of diversion listed in
161 the claim is located, or in a county where the place of use, or some part of it, is located.
162 (c) The action shall be brought against the claimant to the use of water or the claimant's
163 successor in interest.
164 (d) In any action brought to determine the validity of a claim to the use of water under
165 this section, the claimant shall have the initial burden of proof as to the validity of the claimed
167 (e) Any person filing an action challenging the validity of a claim to the use of water
168 under this section shall notify the state engineer of the pendency of the action in a manner
169 prescribed by the state engineer. Upon receipt of the notice, the state engineer may take no
170 action on any change or exchange applications founded on the claim that is the subject of the
171 pending litigation, until the court adjudicates the matter.
172 (f) Upon the entering of any final order or decree in any judicial action to determine the
173 validity of a claim under this section, the prevailing party shall file a certified copy of the order
174 or decree with the state engineer, which shall become part of the state engineer's file on the
176 (7) The state engineer may make rules consistent with this section specifying
177 information required to be included in a claim and claim procedures.
178 Section 3. Division of Natural Resources study of issues related to the state's
179 jurisdiction over water rights.
180 The Division of Natural Resources shall:
181 (1) conduct a study of the state's jurisdiction over water rights, including:
182 (a) conflicts between the state, state agencies, political subdivisions, or citizens of the
183 state and the federal government relating to water issues; and
184 (b) actions necessary for the state to take in order to maintain and defend its
185 jurisdiction over water rights;
186 (2) draft recommended legislation to address the studied issues; and
187 (3) report the study and recommended legislation to the Natural Resources,
188 Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee before November 30, 2013.
189 Section 4. Repeal date.
190 Section 3, Division of Natural Resources study of issues related to the state's
191 jurisdiction over water rights, is repealed on November 30, 2013.
Legislative Review Note
as of 2-28-13 6:14 AM