Updated: April 17, 2011


Two Proposed Determination of Water Rights books were compiled for the Central and Southern Units and published in 1964, when it was part of the 47 area.  No pre-trial or final decree has been issued.  There are two other court decrees in this area, the 1900 Argyle Creek Decree and the 1903 Minnie Maude Creek Decree.  There are no state-administered distribution systems in this area.  A special policy was adopted for Argyle Creek Canyon on May 18, 2007 and is incorporated herein by reference. Because 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. A slice of land along the eastern boundary is part of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation and negotiations for federal reserved water rights are ongoing. Click here to see statistics for this area.


Surface Water - Surface waters of the area are considered to be fully appropriated.  New diversions and consumptive uses on surface sources must be accomplished by change applications filed on valid existing water rights owned or acquired by the applicant.  However, some water is available for larger appropriations on a Temporary (one-year) or Fixed Time period basis. Non-consumptive, uses such as hydroelectric power generation, would be considered on the merits of each application.

Ground Water - There are some limited ground-water resources available. Isolated springs in the Argyle Canyon area must meet the criteria outlined in the 2007 policy declaration. Permanent applications for isolated springs and underground water are generally limited to sufficient acre-foot amounts to serve the domestic purposes of one family, the irrigation of one acre, and ten head of livestock (or equivalent livestock units)

All applications involving surface and ground waters, including changes on existing water rights, are 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.

Applications are generally approved upon showing of an immediate need for water and with the presumptions that the applicant has all necessary resources and authorities to diligently develop the proposed beneficial uses of water and to file proof. Proof must be submitted by a registered land surveyor or engineer licensed in the State of Utah or a water user may file an election for proof to be completed by the State Engineer’s office. Requests for extensions of time in which to submit proof will be critically reviewed after the initial five-year period.

Tthe State Engineer has issued the Argyle Creek Canyon Policy, adopted May 18, 2007, that establishes specific restrictions in that region of the Nine Mile Creek policy area. A map of this region is included in the PDF document.


Applications are advertised in the Sun Advocate in Price or the Uinta Basin Standard in Roosevelt depending on the county where the source is located.  At the discretion of the Regional Engineer, an application may be advertised in more than one county, if he determines the application could affect the water rights located in bordering counties. 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 Southeastern Regional Office in Price.

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.


None available.


May 18, 2007

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


This area stretches from the southernmost part of Duchesne County, across eastern Carbon County and into northeastern Emery County.  It lies atop the West Tavaputs Plateau from T11S to T17S on the west side of the Green River. The major streams in this area are Nine Mile Creek, Minnie Maud Creek and Argyle Creek. This area is bordered on the north by the Uinta Basin, on the east by the Green River, and on the south and west by the Price River drainage. The highest point in the area is 10,285 foot Bruin Point in the Book Cliffs, while the lowest is where the Green River exits the area at about 4,230 feet, giving a total relief of about 6,055 feet.