Updated: April 17, 2011


Six Proposed Determination of Water Rights books were compiled and published in 1971 and 1972.  No pre-trial or final decree has been issued.  There are twelve court decrees in this area covering the Price River, Grassy Trail Creek, and other smaller sources.  The only state-administered distribution system in this area is the Price River Distribution System administered by the Price River Commissioner. Because this area is part of the Colorado River basin, the conditions of the 1922 Colorado River Compact, the 1944 Mexican Treaty and the 1948 Upper Colorado River Compact and the State Engineer's Colorado River Policy apply.  Applications to appropriate or change water are subject to conditions dealing with Green River Endangered Species Protection. Click here to see statistics for this area.


Surface Water - Surface waters of the area are considered to be fully appropriated.  New diversions and consumptive uses on surface sources must be accomplished by change applications filed on valid existing water rights owned or acquired by the applicant. However, some water is available for larger appropriations on a Temporary (one-year) or Fixed Time period basis. Non-consumptive, uses such as hydroelectric power generation, would be considered on the merits of each application.

Ground Water - There are some limited ground-water resources available. Permanent applications for isolated springs and underground water are generally limited to sufficient acre-foot amounts to serve the domestic purposes of one family, the irrigation of one acre, and ten head of livestock (or equivalent livestock units).

All applications involving surface and ground waters, including changes on existing water rights, are considered on their individual merits with emphasis on their potential to interfere with existing rights and to ensure that there is no enlargement of the underlying rights.

Applications are generally approved upon showing of an immediate need for water and with the presumptions that the applicant has all necessary resources and authorities to diligently develop the proposed beneficial uses of water and to file proof. Proof must be submitted by a registered land surveyor or engineer licensed in the State of Utah or a water user may file an election for proof to be completed by the State Engineer’s office. Requests for extensions of time in which to submit proof will be critically reviewed after the initial five-year period.

Price River Upper Watershed Drainage: Specific restrictions apply in areas from about Sec. 1, T14S, R9E (Carbon Canal diversion structure) and on upstream, which are closed to new appropriations. Change applications can be filed on water rights based on First Class shares in the Price River Water Users Association for water held in storage in Scofield Reservoir or on other first class Morris Decree water rights. Change approval may require the installation of meters and regulation by the Price River Commissioner at the applicant’s expense. Click here to see a map of the restricted area.


Applications are advertised in the Sun Advocate in Price or the Emery County Progress in Castle Dale, or the Wasatch Wave, in Heber or the Daily Herald in Provo, or The Times-Independent, in Moab depending on the county where the source is located.  At the discretion of the Regional Engineer, an application may be advertised in more than one county, if he determines the application could affect the water rights located in bordering counties. The general irrigation diversion duty for this area, which the State Engineer uses for evaluation purposes, ranges from 3.0 to 6.0 acre feet per acre per year. Click here to see a duty map for this area. The consumptive use requirement is determined from the publication Consumptive Use of Irrigated Crops in Utah, Research Report 145, Utah State University, 1994, unless the applicant submits other data for consideration.  This area is administered by the Southeastern Regional Office in Price.

Other Requirements

The Water Right applicant is strongly cautioned that other permits may be required before any physical development of a project can begin and it is the responsibility of the applicant to determine the applicability of and acquisition of such permits. In order to avoid delays and ensure that Water Right approvals conform to applicable local ordinances, applicants should contact local governmental entities in advance to determine what ordinances are in place that affect the proposed project and to make sure that Water Right filings conform to those ordinances. The approval of a Water Right application does not imply any approval of a project by any other governmental entity. Approval of the project proposed in the Water Right application should be obtained from local governmental entities as necessary to implement a project.


Technical Publication No. 15; Water from Bedrock in the Colorado Plateau of Utah; Utah State Engineer; 1966.

Technical Publication No. 39, Reconnaissance of Chemical Quality of Surface Water and Fluvial Sediment in the Price River Basin, Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1972.

Basic-Data Report No. 31, Selected Hydrologic Data, 1931-77, Wasatch Plateau-Book Cliffs Coal-Fields Area, Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1978.

Basic-Data Report No. 32, Selected Coal-Related Ground-Water Data, Wasatch Plateau-Book Cliffs Area, Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1979.

Basic-Data Report No. 38, Selected Hydrologic Data, Price River Basin, Utah, Water Years 1979 and 1980; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1982.

Ground-Water Flow in the Navajo Sandstone in Parts of Emery, Grand, Carbon, Wayne, Garfield, and Kane Counties, Southeast Utah; Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4012; U.S. Geological Survey (DjVu plugin required to view this document); 1986.


Navajo Sandstone Ground-water Flow Model, 1986.


April 15, 2002, June 14, 2004

Policy area in green,
click on the map for more detail


This area extends from southeast Wasatch County, across the western two-third of Carbon County and into northeastern Emery County.  It ranges from T9S to T21S on the west side of the Green River.  The major stream in this area is the Price River; its main tributaries are the White River in the upper reaches and Grassy Trail Creek in the lower reaches.  This area is bordered on the north by the Uinta Basin and the Nine Mile Creek drainage, on the east by the Green River, on the south by the San Rafael River drainage, and on the west by the San Pitch River drainage.  The highest point in the area is 10,285 foot Bruin Point in the Book Cliffs, while the lowest is at the confluence of the Price and Green Rivers at about 4,200 feet, giving a total relief of about 6,085 feet.