State Engingeer Drought Update 8-11-2022
Surface water rights in Utah are limited by the available natural flow in the river system. As conditions get drier, the flow diminishes and fewer water rights can be satisfied. However, if conditions such as monsoonal rains increase river flow, it may preserve the number of rights that can be satisfied for longer or even lead to an increase in the number of rights being satisfied. Because Utah water law follows the prior appropriation doctrine, older (senior) water rights have preference, or priority, over younger (junior) water rights.
The four systems identified below (i.e., Bear River, Duchesne River, Provo River, and Sevier River) are a good representation of the various river systems throughout the state. The percentages shown in the table are based on the total amount of water rights. For example, 27% of the water rights on the Duchesne River system are currently being satisfied. This is an increase over 2 weeks ago. River Commissioners oversee these systems to ensure water is being diverted by those entitled to receive it according to their priority dates.
Since the water supply varies each year, we have provided data for the current year with data from the same day for the previous three. For example, last year at this time, only 23% of the water rights on the Duchesne River system were being satisfied. In 2019, however, 52% of rights were being satisfied. Please note, when a system shows a number greater than 100%, it means that all water rights on the system are being satisfied and additional water is being stored in reservoirs.