Updated: April 17, 2011


There are no comprehensive water rights court decrees in this area. Water rights in this area were compiled into a Proposed Determination of Water Rights in 1975. A pre-trial order was issued in 1978. Because this area is tributary to the Colorado River, the provisions of the 1922 Colorado River Compact, the 1944 Mexican Treaty, and the 1948 Upper Colorado River Basin Compact and the State Engineer's Colorado River Policy apply. However, there are no interstate compacts which specifically apportion the waters of this area. There are no state-administered water distribution systems in this area. Click here to see statistics for this area.


Surface and Ground Water - Surface and ground waters in T36S and T37S, R1W through R3W, the headwaters of the Paria River (including North Creek, Henderson Creek, Campbell Creek, Bryce Creek, and Henrieville Creek) 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 are no enlargements of the underlying right(s), and that there will be no impairment of other rights. The State Engineer believes that there is some unappropriated water available in the aquifer system and on isolated surface sources in the Paria River drainage below the confluence of the Paria River and Henrievillle Creek (approximately at the Garfield - Kane county line). In this area, domestic filings, limited to the requirements of one family, the irrigation of 1/4 acre, the watering of 10 head of livestock, or an equivalent amount for other uses, are individually reviewed for potential interference with existing water rights, and some have been approved. Applications are generally approved upon a showing of immediate need for water and with the presumptions that the applicant has all the necessary resources and authorities to diligently develop the proposed beneficial use of water and to file proof. Typically, a period of five years is allowed for full development with extensions of time granted only under unique circumstances clearly beyond the control of the applicant.


Applications are advertised in the Garfield County News and the Southern Utah News, dependent upon the county in which the water is to be diverted. Filings that may involve the diversion of water in Utah for use in Arizona (export) would be subject to the special criteria the statutes require for such projects. 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 although some water rights in the lower elevations have been certificated using 5.0 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. 15; Water from Bedrock in the Colorado Plateau of Utah; Utah State Engineer; 1966.

Technical Publication No. 81; Groundwater Conditions in the Kaiparowits Plateau Area, Utah and Arizona, with Emphasis on the Navajo Sandstone; Utah Depart of Natural Resources; 1986.

Technical Publication No. 84; Groundwater Conditions in the Lake Powell Area, Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1986.

Basic Data Report No. 41; Selected Hydrologic Data, Kolob-Alton- Kaiparowits Coal Fields Area, South-Central Utah; Utah Department of Natural Resources; 1983.


Lake Powell Bank Storage Ground-water Flow Model; 1985 Navajo Sandstone Ground-Water Flow Model; 1992.


None available.

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


Reaching from T35S, in the Bryce Canyon area, to T44S, where it meets Arizona, this area encompasses the drainage of the Paria River and a number of intermittent streams which empty into Lake Powell. It is bounded on the west by the Sevier River and Johnson Wash drainages and on the east by Lake Powell and the Kaiparowits Plateau. On the north is the Table Cliff Plateau and the Escalante River drainage and on the south is Arizona. The highest point is at about 10,900 feet, in the Table Cliff Plateau, while the lowest point is at the shore of Lake Powell at 3,700 feet, giving the basin a total relief of about 7,200 feet.