Friday, April 24, 2009

What Is a General Adjudication?

Under Utah law, the State Engineer may initiate an action in state court in order to analyze and settle all competing claims to the use of water in an area. This action is called a General Adjudication. After a General Adjudication has been initiated, the State Engineer notifies all known water users of the adjudication and provides public notice of the adjudication. Each person claiming a right to use water in the area must file a Water User’s Claim with the State Engineer. In the Claim, the water user states, among other things, the flow of water used, the point where the water is diverted, the place where the water is used, and what the water is used for. The State Engineer also prepares a hydrographic survey of the area. When the survey is complete and all of the Claims have been evaluated, the State Engineer prepares a Proposed Determination. The Proposed Determination is the State Engineer’s recommendation to the court of the status and quantification of water rights in the area. A copy of the Proposed Determination is mailed to each claimant. If a claimant is dissatisfied with the Proposed Determination, the claimant has ninety days to file an objection with the court. After all objections have been resolved and, if necessary, modifications made to the Proposed Determination, the court enters a Decree that establishes all of the water rights for the area.

To read the statutes regarding general adjudications, click here.

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