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Old 06-08-2009, 10:46 PM
978 posts, read 1,635,472 times
Reputation: 1101


Can somebody explain the Utah water rights permits? I'm looking at a piece of property in Iron County and the realtor says the property comes with 6 acre-feet of water rights. Then she says that the water rights can be sold. How exactly does that work? Are the water rights just a piece of paper or do they really exist on the property. And does that mean that 6 acre-feet actually exist under the property?

I'm pretty confused by this and since I live out of state in a different time zone, it's a bit of a problem getting ahold of a state employee who can explain all this to me.

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Old 06-09-2009, 08:14 AM
239 posts, read 799,353 times
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Water Rights are considered personal property and can be sold from 5,000 to 10,000 dollars a foot lately. The history goes back a long way and is explained here.
There are many factors to consider. The fact that someone is selling 6 acre feet in Iron County to an out of stater sends up a red flag to me. Depending on where they are, they can be highly sought after. You can sell them and they can be transferred, but there are restrictions you need to know.
Having a Water Right is just that, you have the right to take that much water from the ground, if you do not use it, it can be taken from the state, many "lease" them to local farmers. There is no guaranty of water being under your land.
If it is in the Beryl/Enterprise area, that is a whole nother post!
I have seen many people buy land here and then come out and be thwarted by the process in building. It is doable, just do your research. Wells, septic, power etc. require a lengthy and paper filled process.
I am glad to see you are researching it!
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:13 PM
978 posts, read 1,635,472 times
Reputation: 1101
Toby, thanks for the response. What is your red flag? That the water may have restrictions? It's not in Enterprise/Beryl Junction, but farther west from there. Maybe I misrepresented what we are looking at. There is a 40-acre property we are looking at. The water rights are attached to the property. We definitely want water rights, but probably won't be able to use the 6 acre-feet at least right away. Are you saying that if we don't use this water, the state can take back the water rights and assign them to someone else? Would we lose all the water rights or would the state only take part of them, and how would they know if we were using the water or not?

Thanks for you help!
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:23 PM
239 posts, read 799,353 times
Reputation: 86
Farther west must be Modena or Hamblin Valley? Have the water rights been put to beneficial use? Are they irrigation? I don't know how they are attached to property, they can be assigned to a "point of diversion", a well or leased out.
The state will take them back if they are not being used, you have seven years to "prove up", you can get extensions though. You have to have a survey done and file paperwork, took me 5 years and thousands of dollars.
The reason I say red flag is because locals usually snap up water rights as soon as they become available. Especially in that area for irrigation use.
Unless you plan on farming or raising livestock, you only need 1 to 2 rights. If so, you could sell or lease them.
The water rights have thier own deed and title, please make sure you check it out. That link I gave you allows you to check the water right status.
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