Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Public Meeting Concerning the General Adjudication in Rose Park Area

The Utah Division of Water Rights has set a public meeting to discuss the general adjudication of water rights in the Rose Park area in Salt Lake County East Division of the Utah Lake / Jordan River Drainage (Area 57, Book 5). The Rose Park area is generally from Main Street on the east to the Jordan River on the west, and from South Temple on the south to the Salt Lake County / Davis County line on the north (see map below). The following information is from the public meeting notice:

What: Public Meeting
Who: Water Users within the Rose Park area
When: November 30, 2016, 6:00 to 7:00 pm
Where: Department of Natural Resources, Room 1050, 1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City
Purpose: In accordance with Chapter 73-4, Utah Code Annotated, and the Third Judicial District Court (Civil No. 360057298), the State Engineer is authorized and ordered to conduct a general determination of the rights to the use of all water, both surface and underground, within the drainage area of the Rose Park Subdivision, Salt Lake County East Division, of the Utah Lake and Jordan River drainage in Salt Lake County. Efforts are currently underway and over the next few months, representatives of the Division of Water Rights will be working in the Rose Park area to survey existing water rights and investigate water user's claims. Representatives from the Division of Water Rights will be available during this time to discuss the adjudication process, review water rights within the area, and answer questions. If individuals cannot attend, but have questions regarding the adjudication process or water rights within the Rose Park area, please contact Blake Bingham at (801)538-7345.
Agenda:
1.  Introduction (Blake Bingham, P.E. - Adjudication Program Manager)
2.  Adjudication Process Presentation
3.  Public Comments and Questions

The meeting will also be available for remote viewing on YouTube at this link.

For more information about the public meeting, click here.

Friday, November 4, 2016

What Is a Notice to File Statement of Water User's Claim?

Across the State of Utah, there are numerous ongoing General Adjudications, which are court actions to determine all water rights in a given area. Some General Adjudications have been in the process for decades, while other General Adjudications have just begun. Recently, the Utah legislature passed a law that modifies how General Adjudications are administered by the courts and the Utah Division of Water Rights. These new General Adjudications are generally being done in small chunks; i.e., rather than trying to adjudicate a whole river basin at once, the large area is divided into much smaller "subdivisions." For example, the Division has recently initiated General Adjudications in the Rose Park Area, the Jordan Park Area, the West Mill Creek Area, and the Nibley Park Area in Salt Lake County.

If the Division thinks you might own a water right in an adjudication area, or if you are the owner of land in an adjudication area, the Division will include you in the adjudication process. The first notice you will generally receive is a letter letting you know that an adjudication has begun. The letter will generally provide information about a public meeting to discuss the adjudication process. Also included will be a Summons, which is necessary due to the fact that a General Adjudication is a court process.

After the public meeting is held, the next notice you will generally receive is a "Notice to File Statement of Water User's Claim." This Notice alerts you that if you wish to assert a water right within the adjudication area, you must file a Water User's Claim within 90 days. If you do not file a Water User's Claim within the 90-day time period, you will likely lose your water right and/or all right to assert a water right. With this Notice, the Division sends a Water User's Claim form. If the Division has information that you own a particular water right, the Water User's Claim will already be filled out with the water right information that the Division has on its records. If the Division does not have information that you own a water right, the Water User's Claim form will be blank.

Due to the nature of the General Adjudication, it is incumbent that anyone wishing to assert a water right file a Water User's Claim within the 90-day time period. If you need help determining if you can claim a water right or filling out a Water User's Claim, contact me to set up an initial consultation.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Public Meeting Regarding Groundwater Management Plan in Iron County

The Utah Division of Water Rights has set a public meeting to discuss developing a groundwater management plan for Cedar Valley in Iron County. The following information is from the public meeting notice:

What: Public Meeting
Who: Cedar Valley Water Users
When: December 8, 2016, 6:00 pm
Where: Cedar High School Auditorium, 703 West 600 South, Cedar City
Purpose: The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the process for developing a groundwater management plan for Cedar Valley in Iron County. Personnel from the Division of Water Rights will be available to take all questions and comments provided by the general public and interested parties.
If you are unable to attend the meeting, but would like to provide input, please send your written comments to:
Division of Water Rights
646 North Main St
P.O. Box 506
Cedar City, UT 84721-0506
Agenda:
1. Welcome/Introduction
2. Groundwater Management Plan Discussion
3. Public Questions/Comments

For more information on the meeting, click here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What Is a Special Master's Notice and Order to Show Cause?

This blog articles provides an explanation of a "Special Master's Notice and Order to Show Cause Why Objection to State Engineer's Proposed Determination Should Not Be Dismissed," and what should be done in response to such a Notice.

A General Adjudication is a court action to determine all water rights in a specific area. The Division of Water Rights plays an important role in the General Adjudication, including the preparation of a Proposed Determination, which is a recommendation to the court of the status and quantification of all water rights in the area.

Several decades ago, a General Adjudication was initiated in the Utah Lake and Jordan River area, which area covers all or parts of Salt Lake County, Utah County, Wasatch County, Summit County, and Sanpete County. This large area was divided into smaller "subdivisions," and Proposed Determinations were issued for many of these subdivisions. As allowed by law, some water users filed objections to water rights in the Proposed Determinations. In some circumstances, water users filed objections on their own water rights. For example, a water user may have felt that the Proposed Determination quantified his/her water right for less water than should have been allowed. In other circumstances, water users filed objections on other people's water rights. For example, a water user may have felt that a neighboring user was granted more water than should have been allowed.

These objections, which were filed with the district court, were never fully resolved through the court process. Accordingly, these objections have remained unsettled for several decades. In order to help get these objections resolved, the district court has appointed a Special Master to handle the objections. To get the process started, the Special Master is sending out a "Special Master's Notice and Order to Show Cause Why Objection to State Engineer's Proposed Determination Should Not Be Dismissed" for each objection. The Notice is being sent to each objector and/or successor-in-interest to each objector. Because decades have passed since the objections were originally filed, in many cases the people receiving these notices may have no idea that their predecessor filed an objection.

If a person receives a Notice, they will need to determine whether they want to pursue the objection. If they elect to pursue the objection, they will need to file the "Notice of Intent to Proceed with Objection Proceeding" with the court within 35 days of the date of the Notice. The Special Master will then set a scheduling conference in order to set a schedule for the objection to proceed through the court process.

If you have received a Notice and need assistance understanding the objection and determining whether to proceed with the objection, contact me to set up an initial consultation.