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WATER RIGHTS

The Utah Division of Water Rights administers the appropriation and distribution of the state’s valuable water resources, both surface and underground. It is an office of public record for information pertaining to water rights, excepting that related to water right ownership. All official publicly accessible water right records are available in the Salt Lake City office, or from the Water Rights website. Regional offices outside of Salt Lake City will also have copies of most records for the areas they administer.

Water is both Utah’s opportunity and its limitation and must be managed appropriately. The mission of the Division of Water Rights is to provide order and certainty in the beneficial use of Utah’s water. The Division administers the state’s surface and ground water through appropriation, distribution and adjudication. In addition, the Division regulates dam safety, stream alterations, water well drilling and other programs.

Angels Landing in Zion National Park

Water is a finite natural resource. Determining priority water rights is necessary to meeting water demands and needs throughout Utah.

Governor Herbert speaks during a reserved water rights signing event at Arches National Park

Governor Herbert joined representative from the Division of Water Rights in signing the tenth reserved water right agreement with the federal government at Arches National Park. Others include Cedar Breaks National Monument; Natural Bridges National Monument and Zion National Park

The State Engineer directs the Division of Water Rights. He is appointed by the governor with consent of the senate and serves a four-year term. The state engineer’s responsibility is to manage the state’s water resources, providing citizens opportunity to make beneficial use of the resource while protecting prior rights and the welfare interests of the public.

New uses of water or a change in existing use must be approved by the State Engineer prior to the undertaking. Once a use is authorized, the Division monitors development to assure the use actually occurs before a permanent or perfected water right certificate is issued. Where many users are competing for water from the same source, the state engineer appoints a commissioner to oversee the day-to-day distribution of water.

How do I change my address with the Division of Water Rights?

There are two different ways. You can change your address online, or you can submit a request using the Address Change Request Form and deliver it to the Division at 1954 West North Temple, Suite 2200, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84114

How can I sign up to receive email notifications for water rights?

You must first register for a free online account by following the below steps:
Register online, or from the Water Rights homepage using these menus: Programs | Water Rights | Notices | Email Service.
Enter an email address and a password and select the “Submit info” button.
Enter a Water Right, Change, or Exchange number and select the “Add Application” button.

Application notifications can be added or deleted at any time. Enter your registered email address and password and select the “Retrieve Application List” button to make any modifications. For every application for which you are registered you will receive an email notification when a new document is scanned to the file. All documents are scanned to their given application file within a couple of days.

Is the practice of harvesting rainwater legal in Utah?

Rainwater harvesting is now legal in the state of Utah, starting May 11 2010. Senate Bill 32 was approved in the 2010 session that provides for the collection and use of precipitation without obtaining a water right after registering with the Division of Water Rights. There is no charge to register.

Did we answer your question?

Water Rights is a complicated subject. For a complete list of frequently asked questions please visit the FAQ section of the Division’s website.

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