AREA 43 - DUCHESNE AND STRAWBERRY RIVERS

Updated: April 11, 2011

  MANAGEMENT

No Proposed Determination of Water Rights books have been published. There are four state-administered distribution systems in this area: the Deep Creek Distribution System, and the Duchesne/Strawberry River Distribution System which are administered by the State Engineer; the Lake Fork River Distribution System, and the Uinta River Distribution System which are administered by the District Court. Negotiations with the Ute Indian Tribe are ongoing to determine the water rights granted under federal treaties and court cases. Since 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.

  SOURCES

Surface Water - Surface waters are considered to be fully appropriated, except for isolated springs. New diversions and consumptive uses in these sources must be accomplished by change applications filed on owned or acquired rights. Non-consumptive use applications, such as hydroelectric power generation, will be considered on their individual merits.

Ground Water - There is a limited ground-water resource available. Appropriations from isolated springs and underground water are generally limited to sufficient acre-foot amounts to serve the domestic needs of one family, irrigation of 0.25 acres, and 10 head of livestock. In the Strawberry River drainage above Soldier Creek dam and the Red Creek drainage above Red Creek dam applications are limited to in-house domestic use only. Water is available for larger projects on a temporary or fixed-time basis in the lower reaches of the drainage. Applicants in the Hancock Cove area near Roosevelt are advised to construct facilities to accommodate pumps because of large changes in artesian pressure during times of heavy water use. Changes from surface to underground sources, and vice versa, are also 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. Applicants are placed on notice that development should be pursued as soon as possible. Extension of time requests will be critically reviewed beyond the initial five-year period.

  GENERAL

Applications are advertised in the Uintah Basin Standard or the Wasatch Wave, depending on the location. The general irrigation diversion duty for this area, which the State Engineer uses for evaluation purposes, is 4.0 acre-feet per acre per year (af/c) on the Duchesne and Strawberry systems and 3.0 af/ac on the Lake Fork and Uinta systems. 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 Northeastern Regional Office in Vernal.

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.

  REFERENCES

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

Technical Publication No. 48, Estimating Mean Streamflow in the Duchesne River Basin, Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1974.

Technical Publication No. 49, Hydrologic Reconnaissance of the Southern Uinta Basin, Utah and Colorado; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1975.

Technical Publication No. 50, Seepage Study of the Rocky Point Canal, and the Grey Mountain-Pleasant Valley Canal Systems, Duchesne County, Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1976.

Technical Publication No. 53, Characteristics of Aquifer in the Northern Uinta Basin Area, Utah and Colorado; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1976.

Technical Publication No. 55, Reconnaissance of Water Quality in the Duchesne River Basin and Some Adjacent Drainage Areas, Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1977.

Technical Publication No. 57, Hydrologic Evaluation of the Upper Duchesne River Valley, Northern Uinta Basin, Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1977.

Technical Publication No. 62, Water Resources of the Northern Uinta Basin Area, Utah and Colorado, with Special Emphasis on Ground-Water Supply; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1978.

Technical Publication No. 92, Base of Moderately Saline Ground Water in the Uinta Basin, with an Introductory Section describing the Methods Used in Determining its Position; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1987.

Basic Data Report No. 25, Streamflow Characteristics in Northeastern Utah and Adjacent Areas, Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1975.

Basic Data Report No. 26, Selected Hydrologic Data, Uinta Basin Area, Utah and Colorado; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1976.

Basic Data Report No. 29, Climatologic and Hydrologic Data, Southeastern Uinta Basin, Utah and Colorado, Water Years 1975 and 1976; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1977.

Basic Data Report No. 33, Climatologic and Hydrologic Data, Southeastern Uinta Basin, Utah and Colorado, Water Year 1977; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1979.

Basic Data Report No. 34, Climatologic and Hydrologic Data, Southeastern Uinta Basin, Utah and Colorado, Water Years 1978; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1980.

Information Bulletin No. 21, Hydrogeology of the Eastern Portion of the South Slopes of the Uinta Mountains, Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1971.

  MODELING

None available.

  PREVIOUS PAGE UPDATES

April 29, 2002

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

  DESCRIPTION

Covering most of Duchesne County, and portions of Wasatch and Uintah Counties, from T4N to T6S, USB&M. This area includes entire Duchesne River system from its headwaters to its confluence with the Green River. Major tributaries include Currant Creek, Strawberry River, Rock Creek, Yellowstone Creek, Lake Fork River, Cottonwood Creek, Whiterocks River, and Uinta River. Three major federal projects divert water from this area to the Wasatch Front. The Strawberry Valley Project sends Strawberry River water to the Spanish Fork River via the Strawberry Tunnel (since replaced by the Syar Tunnel). The Provo River Project sends Duchesne River water to the Provo River through the Duchesne Tunnel. The Central Utah Project utilizes both tunnels for its diversions. This area is bounded on the north by the Uinta Mountains, on the east by Ashley Creek and Green River drainages, on the south by the Price River drainage, and on the west by the Bear, Provo, and Weber River systems. The highest point in the area is 13,528 foot Kings Peak, while the lowest is the confluence of the Duchesne and Green Rivers at about 4,650 feet, giving a total relief of about 8,880 feet.