The water question: The staggering problem of determining water rights

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  • BioPowertrain Detroit, MI
    Dec. 15, 2014 8:47 p.m.

    I like ideas for solutions, like the one about using our engineering students to complete the survey work. Here's another one: let's build a water pipeline from Canada and/or Alaska through Idaho, Utah, Arizona and into northern Mexico. We'll finance it with bonds & other agreements, perhaps such as, "OK Canada, we'll give you your nasty Keystone tar sands oil pipeline if you build a nice clean one for water and let us have all the water we want for free." It's not farfetched, one will be built for California sooner than later. It has to, their water demand will continue to grow, and there's nowhere else for it to come from.

  • John Locke Ivins, , UT
    Dec. 15, 2014 12:31 p.m.

    Locals wars have been fought over water rights. Some rights have been in families for generations, and they have the right to claim them for local farming, etc.

    However, unless the state of Utah and others states address the issue of illegal immigration soon (it may be too late already); we will be virtually drinking our own body waste and bathing in sewage...

  • EPJ Grantsville, UT
    Dec. 15, 2014 11:51 a.m.

    To the Prison Relocation Committee: How much water is used by the current prison and where does it originate? How much water will a new prison require? Tooele County (the west desert) is dry and what little water there is in the County should be rserved for developments which will benefit the county.

    Leave the prison where it is!

  • kolob1 sandy, UT
    Dec. 15, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    "Adjudication is an effort to protect all of the current water rights that are in beneficial use,". What adjudication is all about is the state taking away water rights from the original owner(s) for "non-use" and then, the state as the new owner, not using it themselves.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 15, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    Water - more precious (much) than gold. What's the old saying - "whiskey's for drinking, water's for fighting."

    All the more reason to be really CAREFUL about fracking. Don't destroy the precious water.

    BTW, after the pioneers entered the valley Brigham Young declared the creeks and timber stands were to be held in common. Didn't last, did it?

  • bullet56 Olympia, WA
    Dec. 15, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    We human beings already have water rights. Somewhere in my Bible, the author says that God created all the water and gave it to us all for OUR use. Not the exclusive use of corporations, or corporate farmers, golf course owners,etc. Of course we, choose independent capitalist living, so we don't have to care what might happen (to others) if we have water and someone else doesn't. Our ownership of the very essentials of life, make us responsible for those who can not purchase them.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    Dec. 15, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    Utah should consider disbanding the Water Task Force which has not been able to solve these problems for a decade and bring in the Nevada State Engineer to advise the Governor.

    Something to consider. There are 11 engineering schools in Utah full of energetic students who would love to do this water right research work for credit.

    Engineering students could clean up this water paperwork issue (more paper water than wet water) in 90 days. Many hands make like work. Google also has a tool that allows for field virtual field inspections which speeds things up.

    Utah should consider deleting its water code title 73 and cut and pasting in the Nevada water code which is a lot better.

    Cleaning out millions of acre-feet of unapproved applications to appropriate could be achieved through legislation. Simply pass a bill voiding all such applications in water basins closed to appropriations.

    Utah's water is worth an estimated $140 Billion and underpins Utah's $100 Billion economy, 1.3 million jobs, 1 million housing units, and another 1 million future housing units.

    A Legislative Audit on Utah's Water Markets, and Water Cartel should be considered.

  • 81Ute Central, UT
    Dec. 15, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    Curious, most of the comments are made by those that, obviously, don't own water. You can't take something from someone with just compensation, US Constitution. Just because everybody needs water doesn't menat that you have any right to the property of another.

    I view my water rights the same as my 2nd amendment rights and I will use the latter to keep the former.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    Dec. 15, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    If the same dollars spent determining "water rights" were used to develop desalinization and purification plants, the economies of scale would eventually drive the cost down to something more reasonable and provide an unending supply of domestic water. Agricultural use has already taken tremendous strides in efficiency since the days of flood irrigating. Unfortunately, there are always unintended consequences as is the case in the loss of habitat for species such as pheasant and quail.

  • readme Provo, UT
    Dec. 15, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    There is no water shortage in Utah considering 90% or more is used to water our Kentucky blue grass lawns.

    Water rights must be private. Property rights, according to the Utah Constitution, are inalienable rights, or rights given to us from God. If they are given to us by the state then the state can take them away at any time. Do you want to empower the state to take away your property?

    Buy undeveloped land in Utah and experience the development nightmare. You must find and buy water rights and get the state's approval to transfer them to your property. To develop, every step requires government's approval. Progress will be sequential, can't be done in parallel and may take years longer because of governmental delays. If you don't show beneficial use of your water shares for their specific designated use in time they'll take away your water shares and command you to cement up your well (which may cost $9,500 or more). From experience I know.

    Had the Mormon pioneers such delays and unconstitutional laws they would have either rebelled or all died.

    Water rights belong to people, not the state. Let free markets reign.

  • readme Provo, UT
    Dec. 15, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    There is no water shortage in Utah considering 90% or more is used to water our Kentucky blue grass lawns.

    Water rights must be private. Property rights, according to the Utah Constitution, are inalienable rights, or rights given to us from God. If they are given to us by the state then the state can take them away at any time. Do you want to empower the state to take away your property?

    Buy undeveloped Utah land and experience the development nightmare. You must find and buy water rights and get the state's approval to transfer them to your property. To make progress, every development step requires government's approval. Progress will be sequential, can't be done in parallel and may take years longer because of governmental delays. If you don't show beneficial use of your water shares for their specific designated use in time they'll take away your water shares and command you to cement up your well (which may cost $9,500 or more). From experience I know.

    Had the Mormon pioneers such delays and unconstitutional laws they would have either rebelled or all died.

    Water rights belong to people. Let free markets reign.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Dec. 15, 2014 6:21 a.m.

    Some years ago, I had lunch with one of the local advocates of a proposed nuclear power plant off the Green River. When I mentioned how water-intensive nuclear power was and the risks for a desert state such as Utah, his response was that his plant would only reduce the Green River's water level by two inches... thus, the millions of gallons it would consumer was "re-framed" to sound insignificant -- "just two inches."

    The bottom line is that water is a precious resource, subsidized and undervalued in Utah, and policymakers need to think long and hard about how to allocate this resource for our future residents (most of whom will be our own children and grandchildren) -- our families!

    In the energy sector, Utah relies on coal for about 80 percent of its electricity. Few know it, but coal-fired power is a significant water guzzler -- to produce steam and flush out boilers -- but Utah is blessed with wind and sun resources that require NO water. The quicker we switch to these price stable, cleaner, and water-free resources, the more we free up water for future generations.

  • BU52 Provo, ut
    Dec. 15, 2014 6:16 a.m.

    If the EPA and the NSA get their way the fight will be over. All water will belong to the Federal government. Then they will have the power to control our economic growth and we will be like the serfs of old.

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Dec. 15, 2014 4:15 a.m.

    Water rights laws need to be up dated from those written over a hundred years ago. Further more, the state of Utah needs to do far more about using or diverting water BEFORE it is wasted in the Great Salt Lake.