Friday, December 17, 2010

What Is the Process for Approval of a Change Application or Application to Appropriate?

After a Change Application or Application to Appropriate has been filed with the Utah Division of Water Rights, there is a process that the application must go through before it is approved or denied.

The application must first be advertised once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county. Advertising may not be required on a temporary change application or on an application on a small amount of water (defined as the amount of water necessary for one residence, 0.25 acres of irrigation, and stockwater for ten ELUs).

Interested parties may file a protest with the State Engineer. The protest period is for twenty days following the advertisement. A hearing may held if a protestant requests a hearing or if the Division of Water Rights has other reasons or concerns for holding a hearing.

Following the hearing (or following the protest period, if no hearing is required), the Division will review all of the information before it, including the application, the protests, the information obtained at the hearing, and other data on file with the Division. The Division may also conduct a field investigation or request additional information from the applicant.

The State Engineer will then issue an order either approving or rejecting the application. The order will also generally contain limitations and conditions of approval. There is no real timeline for when the order will be issued. Generally, it takes six to eight weeks from the date of the hearing, but on more complex applications, it may take several months or even years for an order to be issued.

If a party disagrees with the State Engineer's order, he/she can file a request reconsideration within twenty days from the date the order is issued. The State Engineer may grant the request for reconsideration and issue an amended order. The State Engineer may also deny the request for reconsideration, either by expressly denying the request or by not taking any action on the request for twenty days after the request is filed (at which point the request is deemed denied). The aggrieved party then has thirty days to appeal to the district court.

For a flow chart of the application process, click here.

To read the statutes about the application process, click here.

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