Last Tuesday at the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center on College of Eastern Utah campus the Castleland RC&D Council, Price River Conservation District, and the San Rafael Conservation District partnered together with the Utah State Engineer's office to sponsor a water rights workshop. Input from farmers and other water users in the area was provided to the state engineer in preparation for the workshop.
Assistant southeastern regional engineer David Horsley made a presentation regarding water rights basics. He included the major elements of a water right: priority date, quantity of water, nature of use, source of supply, points of diversion, period of use, and place of use.
Marc Stilson, southeastern regional engineer provided the group information on recent policy changes and legislation that affected water rights including:
HB 51. Protecting certain entities from forfeiture of water rights.
HB 208 and 256. Regarding livestock water rights on public land.
HB 18. Authorizes the extension of time on a water right application.
HB 241. Clarifying the priority of water rights.
HB 389. Regarding applications for small amounts of water.
Matt Lindon, assistant state engineer-technical services and Jana Mohrman, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service combined on a presentation regarding the current policy and management of the Green River for endangered fish species. Minimum flows have been established for the river to protect and enhance fish habitat.
The newly appointed state engineer, Kent Jones was introduced and he presented information on the Colorado river policy. He pointed out that the upper Colorado River basin is over-appropriated, however there is currently 360,000 acre feet that is unused.
Boyd Clayton, deputy state engineer made a presentation on fixed time water right applications. The state engineers' office will not put a "due date" on fixed time applications.
Fifty one people attended the workshop. Two similar meetings were held in Green River and Moab recently.