PUBLIC MEETING CONCERNING A PRIORITY CALL ON THE VIRGIN RIVER INCLUDING ALL ASSOCIATED TRIBUTARIES FROM THE HEADWATERS TO THE WASHINGTON FIELDS DIVERSION
Revised: August 8, 2014
Due to extremely dry conditions over the last three years, the Virgin River and associated tributaries are experiencing significantly diminished flows. Utah law provides that appropriators have priority among themselves according to the dates of their respective appropriations, so that each appropriator is entitled to receive the appropriator's whole supply before any subsequent appropriator has any right (Utah Code Section 73-3-21.1(2)). The state engineer routinely operates distribution systems, including one on the Virgin River where a river commissioner maintains records and distributes water among the appropriators in accordance with their respective rights to carry out purposes of the statute. Typically distributing water among the users on the main stem of the Virgin River has been adequate to accomplish priority distribution objectives, so the system does not include tributaries named in this letter. However, current circumstances have caused senior appropriators on the main stem of the Virgin to question if they are being impaired by junior users on unregulated tributaries and they are now calling for all water which is tributary to the Virgin River to be regulated by priority. This is an extraordinary action which will require an immediate response to be effective.
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