Saturday, October 27, 2018

Public Meeting Concerning the General Adjudication in Draper Area


The Utah Division of Water Rights has set a public meeting to discuss the general adjudication of water rights in the Draper area in Salt Lake County East Division of the Utah Lake/Jordan River Drainage (Area 57, Book 26). The Draper area generally includes the area between 12300 South on the north, the Utah County-Salt Lake County boundary on the south and the east, and the Jordan River on the west (see map below). The following information is from the public meeting notice:

What: Public Meeting
Who: Water Users within the Draper area
When: November 14, 2018, 6:00 to 7:00 pm
Where: Department of Natural Resources, Room 1050, 1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City
Purpose: In accordance with Chapter 73-4, Utah Code Annotated, and the Third Judicial District Court (Civil No. 365729843), the State Engineer is authorized and ordered to conduct a general determination of the rights to the use of all water, both surface and underground, within the drainage area of the Draper Subdivision, Salt Lake County East Division, of the Utah Lake and Jordan River drainage in Salt Lake County. Efforts are currently underway and over the next few months, representatives of the Division of Water Rights will be working in the Draper area to survey existing water rights and investigate water user's claims. In light of this work, the public is invited to a public meeting. Representatives from the Division of Water Rights will be available during this time to discuss the adjudication process, review water rights within the area, and answer questions. If individuals cannot attend, but have questions regarding the adjudication process or water rights within the Draper area, please contact the Division of Water Rights at 801-538-5282.

Agenda:
1.  Introduction (Blake Bingham, P.E. - Assistant State Engineer)
2.  Adjudication Process Presentation
3.  Public Comments and Questions

A live stream broadcast of the public meeting will also be available online at this link.

For more information about this meeting, click here.
 




Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Public Meeting Regarding Groundwater Management Plan for Parowan Valley

The Utah Division of Water Rights has set a public meeting to discuss the development of a Groundwater Management Plan for Parowan Valley. The following information is from the public meeting notice:

What: Public Meeting
Who: Parowan Valley Water Users
When: December 11, 2018, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Parowan City Office, 35 East 100 North, Parowan, Utah
Purpose: The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the development of a groundwater management plan for Parowan Valley. Personnel from the Division of Water Rights will be available to take all questions and comments provided by the general public and interested parties.

If you have groundwater rights in the Parowan Valley area (Area 75), you may want to attend the public meeting, as the Groundwater Management Plan could have a significant impact on your water rights.

For more information about the meeting, click here.

For current water right policies in the Parowan Valley area, click here.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

EnerVest Ltd v. Utah State Engineer

The Utah Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in the case of EnerVest, Ltd. v. Utah State Engineer. The case focused on the issue of who has standing to appeal a district court's decision on an objection to a proposed determination.

Minnie Maud Creek is a stream in Duchesne County that is tributary to the Green River. The General Adjudication for Minnie Maud Creek was initiated in 1956, and the State Engineer issued a Proposed Determination in 1964. The Minnie Maud Reservoir and Irrigation Company ("MMRIC") was awarded twelve water rights in the Proposed Determination. Four objections were filed, which challenged eight of MMRIC's water rights.

In 2012, EnerVest filed a petition to expedite a hearing on the objections, which were still pending. The district court granted the hearing, but limited the scope to the question of whether MMRIC was correctly listed as the owner of the water rights. Several parties participated in the hearing, including EnerVest and Michael Carlson, who had not filed objections to the Proposed Determination, and the Hammerschmid Trust, who had filed an objection. EnerVest and the Hammerschmid Trust argued that MMRIC did not own the water rights, and Carlson argued that MMRIC did own the water rights. The district court agreed with Carlson, and ruled that MMRIC was correctly listed as the owner of the water rights in the Proposed Determination.

EnerVest and the Hammerschmid Trust appealed the decision to the Utah Supreme Court. During the pendency of the appeal, the Hammerschmid Trust voluntarily dismissed their appeal, leaving EnerVest as the sole appealing party. Carlson then challenged EnerVest's standing to continue the appeal.

The Utah Supreme Court first had to determine if the appeal was proper under Rule 54(b) of the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure, which allows appeals for individual claims within a larger case. The Supreme Court concluded that the appeal was not proper for several reasons, including the unique nature of General Determinations that "prevents complete finality of any water rights until the entire general adjudication has been completed."

The Supreme Court then had to determine if the appeal was proper under Rule 5(a) of the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure, which allows interlocutory appeals (i.e., appeals before a case is final). As part of this determination, the Supreme Court examined whether EnerVest had standing to pursue the appeal. The key fact in this analysis was that neither EnerVest nor its predecessor-in-interest had filed an objection to the Proposed Determination, and a party who does not timely object to a Proposed Determination acquiesces to the Proposed Determination as published. Because EnerVest had already acquiesced to the Proposed Determination, it lacked standing to appeal the district court's decision upholding the Proposed Determination. Furthermore, EnerVest could not pursue the Hammerschmid Trust's interests in the appeal. As the Supreme Court noted, "a non-objecting party's interests can piggyback on another party's objection, but only as far as the objecting party is willing to travel. Once the objecting party chooses to end its objection's journey, the non-objecting party cannot take over.

Based on these determinations, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction.

To read the full opinion, click here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Public Meeting Concerning the General Adjudication in Little Cottonwood Creek Area

The Utah Division of Water Rights has set a public meeting to discuss the general adjudication of water rights in the Little Cottonwood Creek area in Salt Lake County East Division of the Utah Lake/Jordan River Drainage (Area 57, Book 23). The Little Cottonwood Creek area generally includes the area between Bengal Boulevard on the north, 9400 South on the south, Highland Drive on the west, and the Little Cottonwood Creek drainage boundary on the east (see map below). The following information is from the public meeting notice:

What: Public Meeting
Who: Water Users within the Little Cottonwood Creek area
When: October 17, 2018, 6:00 to 7:00 pm
Where: Department of Natural Resources, Room 1050, 1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City
Purpose: In accordance with Chapter 73-4, Utah Code Annotated, and the Third Judicial District Court (Civil No. 365729840), the State Engineer is authorized and ordered to conduct a general determination of the rights to the use of all water, both surface and underground, within the drainage area of the Little Cottonwood Creek Subdivision, Salt Lake County East Division, of the Utah Lake and Jordan River drainage in Salt Lake County. Efforts are currently underway and over the next few months, representatives of the Division of Water Rights will be working in the Little Cottonwood Creek area to survey existing water rights and investigate water user's claims. In light of this work, the public is invited to a public meeting. Representatives from the Division of Water Rights will be available during this time to discuss the adjudication process, review water rights within the area, and answer questions. If individuals cannot attend, but have questions regarding the adjudication process or water rights within the Little Cottonwood Creek area, please contact the Division of Water Rights at 801-538-5282.
Agenda:
1.  Introduction (Gary Brimley, P.E. - Adjudication Engineer)
2.  Adjudication Process Presentation
3.  Public Comments and Questions

A live stream broadcast of the public meeting will also be available online at this link.

For more information about this meeting, click here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Public Meeting Regarding Modification of Groundwater Management Plan

The Utah Division of Water Rights has set a meeting to discuss modifying the groundwater management plan for southern Utah County. The following information is from the public meeting notice:

What: Public Meeting
Who: Southern Utah Valley water users
When: November 1, 2018, 4:00 pm
Where: Mapleton City Office Building, Council Chambers, 125 West 400 North, Mapleton, UT
Purpose: The existing groundwater management plan for Southern Utah Valley discusses a contamination site near the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon and defines a restricted area that extends into portions of Mapleton. The purpose of the meeting is to propose a modification to the provisions of the groundwater management plan that stipulate how the State Engineer will act on applications within this restricted area. Personnel from the Division of Water Rights will be available to take all questions and comments provided by the public and interested parties.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, but would like to provide input, please send your written comments to:
Division of Water Rights
1594 West North Temple Suite 220
PO Box 146300
Salt Lake city, UT 84114-6300

Agenda:
1. Welcome/Introduction
2. Groundwater Management Plan Discussion
3. Public Questions/Comments

For additional information regarding the meeting, click here.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Regional Water Conservation Open Houses

The Utah Division of Water Resources is in the process of determining new water conservation goals by region. The Division will be hosting regional open houses throughout the state to discuss these water conservation goals. The open house schedule is included below. Additionally, citizens can give feedback via this survey.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Public Meeting Concerning the General Adjudication in Big Cottonwood Creek Area

The Utah Division of Water Rights has set a public meeting to discuss the general adjudication of water rights in the Big Cottonwood Creek area in Salt Lake County East Division of the Utah Lake/Jordan River Drainage (Area 57, Book 18). The Big Cottonwood Creek area generally includes the area between Murray-Holladay Road on the north, Bengal Boulevard on the south, the Van Winkle Expressway on the west, and the Big Cottonwood Creek drainage boundary on the east (see map below). The following information is from the public meeting notice:

What: Public Meeting
Who: Water Users within the Willow Creek area
When: September 12, 2018, 6:00 to 7:00 pm
Where: Department of Natural Resources, Room 1050, 1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City
Purpose: In accordance with Chapter 73-4, Utah Code Annotated, and the Third Judicial District Court (Civil No. 365729835), the State Engineer is authorized and ordered to conduct a general determination of the rights to the use of all water, both surface and underground, within the drainage area of the Big Cottonwood Creek Subdivision, Salt Lake County East Division, of the Utah Lake and Jordan River drainage in Salt Lake County. Efforts are currently underway and over the next few months, representatives of the Division of Water Rights will be working in the Big Cottonwood Creek area to survey existing water rights and investigate water user's claims. In light of this work, the public is invited to a public meeting. Representatives from the Division of Water Rights will be available during this time to discuss the adjudication process, review water rights within the area, and answer questions. If individuals cannot attend, but have questions regarding the adjudication process or water rights within the Big Cottonwood Creek area, please contact the Division of Water Rights at 801-538-5282.
Agenda:
1.  Introduction (Blake Bingham, P.E. - Assistant State Engineer)
2.  Adjudication Process Presentation
3.  Public Comments and Questions

A live stream broadcast of the public meeting will also be available online at this link.

For more information about this meeting, click here.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Haik v. Jones

The Utah Supreme Court has issued its decision in the case of Haik v. Jones. The case started in April 2014 when Salt Lake City filed a change application to modify one of the City's water rights to add an additional 25 acres to the authorized place of use in order to allow for 10 homes to be built in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Mark Haik, who has engaged in several lawsuits against the City in the past two decades trying to force the City to serve water to his property in Little Cottonwood Canyon, protested the change application. Mr. Haik alleged, among other things, that the change application was not filed in good faith and that the City was violating the Utah Constitution, which prohibits cities from selling or otherwise disposing of its water rights. Despite Mr. Haik's protest, the State Engineer approved the change application.

Mr. Haik then petitioned the district court to review the State Engineer's decision. The City challenged Mr. Haik's standing to pursue the petition. The district court determined that Mr. Haik did not have proper standing, and dismissed his petition. Mr. Haik then appealed the district court's decision to the Utah Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court first analyzed whether Mr. Haik had "traditional standing." Utah Code section 73-3-14 provides that only "aggrieved" persons may seek judicial review of a State Engineer decision, and the Supreme Court has previously interpreted this statute to mean that a person must show "some distinct and palpable injury." Mr. Haik asserted that his status as a landowner in Little Cottonwood Canyon met this requirement. The Supreme Court disagreed, and held that Mr. Haik lacked traditional standing.

The Supreme Court then analyzed whether Mr. Haik qualified for "public interest standing." To qualify for public interest standing, a person must show that there is an issue of significant public importance and that the person is an appropriate party to pursue the action. Mr. Haik asserted that his constitutional claims met these requirements. The Supreme Court assumed, without deciding, that Mr. Haik's constitutional claims were of significant public interest. However, the Supreme Court determined that these claims were not properly before the court. The Supreme Court noted that the State Engineer does not have authority to adjudicate constitutional claims in a change application setting, and therefore constitutional claims could not be appealed to the district court and the Supreme Court.

Based on the foregoing, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's dismissal of Mr. Haik's case.

To read the full opinion, click here.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Public Meeting Concerning the General Adjudication in Willow Creek Area

The Utah Division of Water Rights has set a public meeting to discuss the general adjudication of water rights in the Willow Creek area in Salt Lake County East Division of the Utah Lake/Jordan River Drainage (Area 57, Book 25). The Willow Creek area generally includes the area between 10600 South on the north, 12300 South on the south, the Jordan River on the west, and the Big Willow Creek and Little Willow Creek drainages boundary on the east (see map below). The following information is from the public meeting notice:

What: Public Meeting
Who: Water Users within the Willow Creek area
When: August 15, 2018, 6:00 to 7:00 pm
Where: Department of Natural Resources, Room 1050, 1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City
Purpose: In accordance with Chapter 73-4, Utah Code Annotated, and the Third Judicial District Court (Civil No. 365729842), the State Engineer is authorized and ordered to conduct a general determination of the rights to the use of all water, both surface and underground, within the drainage area of the Willow Creek Subdivision, Salt Lake County East Division, of the Utah Lake and Jordan River drainage in Salt Lake County. Efforts are currently underway and over the next few months, representatives of the Division of Water Rights will be working in the Willow Creek area to survey existing water rights and investigate water user's claims. In light of this work, the public is invited to a public meeting. Representatives from the Division of Water Rights will be available during this time to discuss the adjudication process, review water rights within the area, and answer questions. If individuals cannot attend, but have questions regarding the adjudication process or water rights within the Willow Creek area, please contact the Division of Water Rights at 801-538-5282.
Agenda:
1.  Introduction (Blake Bingham, P.E. - Assistant State Engineer)
2.  Adjudication Process Presentation
3.  Public Comments and Questions

A live stream broadcast of the public meeting will also be available online at this link.

For more information about this meeting, click here.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Training on Water Right Title

The Division of Water Rights will be hosting a training session on ownership and conveyance of water rights. The training will be held on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at the Department of Natural Resources Building in Salt Lake City (1594 West North Temple) in Room 1040 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Please RSVP to Chris York at cyork@utah.gov if you would like to attend or for further information.