Updated: April 17, 2011


The Beaver River has been the source of much litigation, and there are several decrees allocating rights. Water rights in this area were compiled into two proposed determination books in 1969. Because no pre-trial order has been issued, previously decreed rights are to be administered as directed in the older orders which can lead to complications and conflicts between past and present practices and the protesting of change applications. The primary decree is known as the Beaver River Decree and was signed in 1931. The State Engineer's policy for interpreting water rights awarded in the decree is set forth in a Policy Memorandum dated July 9, 2001. In response to a court order in 1991, a proposed determination book was issued dealing with Indian Creek, but there has been no pre-trial order issued on this book. There is a state-administered water distribution system in this area; the Beaver River Distribution System, which oversees the distribution of surface water. The system is under the jurisdiction of the Beaver River Commissioner. Click here to see statistics for this area.


Surface and Ground Water - All waters of the basin are considered to be fully appropriated. New diversions and uses must be accomplished by change applications based on valid existing water rights. Fixed-time projects must be accomplished by temporary change applications on valid existing water rights, which require annual renewal. Change applications proposing a change from surface to underground sources, or vice versa, will be critically reviewed to assure hydrologic connection, that there is no enlargement of the underlying right(s), and that there will be no impairment of other rights. Water rights for the Beaver Mountain and Elk Meadows resort areas are generally restricted to change applications on existing "first priority" (1870) rights already established on the Beaver River or its direct tributaries, any underground rights considered for transfer require the same basis in priority as surface rights to be approved under a change application in this area. Applications proposing transfers of rights between the Beaver River and other streams tributary to Beaver Valley are not approved.


Applications are advertised in the Beaver Press. 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. 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 Southwest Regional Office in Cedar City.

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. 13; Ground-Water Resources of Selected Basins in Southwestern Utah; Utah State Engineer; 1966.

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

Technical Publication No. 52; Seepage Study of Canals in Beaver Valley, Beaver County, Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1976.

Technical Publication No. 63; Hydrology of the Beaver Valley Area, Beaver County, Utah, with Emphasis on Ground Water; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1978.

Basic Data Report No. 6; Groundwater Data, Beaver, Escalante, Cedar City, and Parowan Valleys, Parts of Washington, Iron, Beaver, and Millard Counties, Utah; Utah State Engineer; 1963. (Out of print)

Water-Resources Investigative Report 95-4173, Simulated Effects of Proposed Ground-Water Pumping in 17 Basins in East-Central and Southern Nevada; U.S. Geological Survey; 1995 (viewing this document requires the DjVu browser plugin available from LizardTech)

USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5213, Steady-State Numerical Groundwater Flow Model of the Great Basin Carbonate and Alluvial Aquifer System; 2014.

USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5072, Groundwater Model of the Great Basin Carbonate and Alluvial Aquifer System Version 3.0: Incorporating Revisions in Southwestern Utah and East Central Nevada; 2017.


Beaver Valley Ground-Water Flow Model; 1978. Regional Ground-Water Flow; Carbonate-Rock Province, Nevada, Utah, and Adjacent States; USGS Open-File Reports 93-170 and 93-420, 1993.


None available.

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


Reaching from T27S to T31S in easternmost Beaver County, this drainage basin, of about 535 square miles, drains surface flows from the Tushar Mountains to Minersville (Rocky Ford) Reservoir. The primary streams entering the valley are the Beaver River, North, South, and Indian Creeks. It is bounded on the west and north by the 9,578 foot Mineral Mountains, and on the south by the 8,700 foot Black Mountains. On the east is the12,173 foot Tushar Mountains. The lowest point is Minersville Reservoir at 5,493 feet, giving the basin a total relief of about 6,680 feet.