Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Legislative Preview: Water and Irrigation Amendments

Senator Margaret Dayton will introduce Senate Bill 17 (SB 17), entitled "Water and Irrigation Amendments."  The bill is a "clean-up bill" that makes several small changes to the Utah Water Code.  First, the bill would expand the State Engineer's enforcement powers by allowing the State Engineer to pursue an enforcement action against a person who violates the law requiring a stream alteration permit for work done in a natural streambed.  Second, the bill would require assignments of unperfected water rights to be recorded with the proper county recorder instead of just being filed with the Division of Water Rights.  Third, the bill seeks to clarify the criminal penalties for well drillers operating without a current license.  Fourth, the bill proposes changes to the statute governing stream alteration permits, including giving the State Engineer authority to issue orders for repair and restoration of streambeds altered without a permit.  Finally, the bill proposes technical changes to the statute governing the State Engineer's duties to divide and distribute water.

To read the full text of SB 17, as introduced, click here.

Update: This bill was passed on February 13, 2014, and will now go to Governor Herbert for signature.

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