The lunchroom at Lehi Elementary was packed with citizens living within the Lehi Subdivision of Water Area 55, Book 4 on Wednesday, January 9, to hear a presentation by Blake Bingham, Assistant Utah State Engineer. A summons had been sent to residents living within this water area to adjudicate the status of their water rights.
The meeting was part of a state-wide effort by the Utah Department of Natural Resources to investigate, define, and settle all claims to water rights within a specific area. A water right is generally associated with the use of water from a well, spring, or stream.
The water rights involved are in a southern portion of Lehi City bounded on the west by the Jordan River, on the north by 300 North, on the east by 1200 East and extending to Utah Lake on the South. All citizens who want to assert or maintain a water right within the boundaries were summoned to the meeting.
Bingham presented a history of water rights from the time early settlers came to Utah. He emphasized that in early Utah history, most water rights were governed by ecclesiastical leaders. Water was a critical part of survival in the early days of Utah history. It is noted by prominent historians that irrigation was a unique activity for Utah pioneers but there were few records kept of water rights.
In 1919 laws were passed to determine the legitimacy of water rights. Bingham said there has been an over-appropriation of water rights throughout the state, and that a similar water rights project had been started in 1988 but was never completed. He assured all citizens that if they had proper documentation, there would be no problem with well use, but many wells had been dug in the past and have since been abandoned. The January 9 meeting was part of the State’s effort to quantify water rights and water use across Utah.
Individuals who may have questions about the status of their water rights may contact the following staff members:
Ashley Ostraff, Adjudication Team Leader @ 385-315-4610 or email: AOstraff@utah.gov
Gary Brimley, P.E. Adjudication Engineer Manager @801-538-5282 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blake Bingham, P.E. 801-538-5282 email: email@example.com