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