Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Delta Canal Company v. Frank Vincent Family Ranch -- Amended Opinion

Today the Utah Supreme Court issued an amended opinion in the case of Delta Canal Co. v. Frank Vincent Family Ranch LC

The amended opinion only modified paragraph 41 of the original opinion.  As discussed in my blog post about the original opinion, paragraph 41 raised issues and concerns to many in the water community, and appeared to be in conflict with long-standing policies of the Utah Division of Water Rights.  The paragraph below shows the differences between paragraph 41 in the original opinion and paragraph 41 in the amended opinion.  The stricken language is language that the Court removed, and the underlined language is language that the Court added.

"Finally, the number of acres irrigated is not determinative in a forfeiture analysis, though it may be relevant insofar as it indicates the volume of water used or  whether water usage is beneficial.  Farmers may reduce the total acres irrigated to grow a more water-intensive crop, or vice-versa, so long as they beneficially use their full entitlement.  The number of acres irrigated need not match the number listed on a proposed determination or a final decree from a general adjudication.  The central question in any forfeiture proceeding is whether the appropriator used all of its water allowance in a reasonable manner and for a beneficial purpose."

To read the entire amended opinion, click here.

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