Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013 Legislature: Division of Water Rights Amendments

Representative Curt Webb has introduced House Bill 326 (H.B. 326), entitled "Division of Water Rights Amendments."  The bill seeks to make several changes to the Utah Water Code. 

First, the bill seeks to amend Utah Code section 73-1-10 by including a provision to clarify that a recorded Water Rights Addendum will act as a Report of Conveyance to update water right ownership information with the Division.  The Division has already been doing this as a matter of policy, but this statutory amendment gives clarification and confirmation of this practice. 

Second, the bills seeks to amend Utah Code section 73-1-11 to allow the Division to update water right ownership information based on deeds and other documents relied on by county recorder offices to update title to land.  This corrects an existing problem that arises when a county recorder's office has updated its tract index based on a recorded deed or document, but the Division has an issue or concern with that same deed or document, thereby making it difficult to update ownership information for water rights appurtenant to the land. 

Third, the bill seeks to amend Utah Code section 73-1-11 to shares in a water corporation (canal company, ditch company, irrigation company, etc.) are not appurtenant to land, and are transferred only under Chapter 8 of the Uniform Commercial Code.  The currently language states that shares "shall not be deemed appurtenant to land," but courts have interpreted this language to mean that there is only a "rebuttable presumption" that shares are not appurtenant, which has caused confusion and dispute about when shares are and are not appurtenant.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

For an update on this bill, click here.

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