Saturday, April 18, 2009

What Is a "Diligence Right" or "Diligence Claim"?

According to the Utah Division of Water Rights website, a diligence claim is “a claim to the use of surface water where the use was initiated prior to 1903.” In 1903, statutory administrative procedures to appropriate water were first established. Accordingly, after 1903, the exclusive method of obtaining a new surface water right is through filing an application to appropriate with the State Engineer and ultimately obtaining a certificate of beneficial use by “proving up” the water right. Prior to 1903, the method for obtaining the right to use water was to simply put the water to beneficial use. These water rights are known as diligence rights and require beneficial use prior to 1903. In order to memorialize a diligence right, a written diligence claim must be filed with the State Engineer. The State Engineer’s acceptance of a diligence claim cannot be considered an adjudication of the claim’s validity. Any person injured by a diversion pursuant to a diligence claim may file an action in district court to determine the validity of the claim. In such an action, the claimant has the burden of proof as to the validity of the diligence claim.

To read the statute regarding diligence claims, click here.

No comments: