DAVE & DUJANOVIC

Utah water restrictions vary based on rights and state history

May 9, 2022, 4:22 PM
Utah water restrictions...
FILE: A man stands at the edge of Pineview Reservoir near Huntsville, Weber County, on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. Photo credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Why are Utah water restrictions so confusing and seemingly unfair to residents in one city yet generous to citizens of another?

For example, different cities in the Weber Water Basin District have different restrictions:

In West Haven, a homeowner is allowed — beginning in mid-May — to water outside once a week. But in Roy, homeowners can water their lawns and plants twice a week.

Do the state’s and the West’s ongoing, historic drought play a major part in today’s water restrictions?

“There are a lot of different water users and water providers that leverage water off of the Weber River and the Weber River basin drainage,” said the Assistant General Manager of the Weber Water Basin Conservancy District, Jon Parry. He discussed cities’ varying water restrictions with KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic.

Water-use hierarchy in Utah

Under Utah water rights law there exists The Doctrine of Prior Appropriation, Parry said, which means first in time, first in right. In a nutshell, that means the first people to use the water have a higher priority than others.

“First in time, first in right” was developed in the 1840s by early Utah settlers who first made beneficial use of water should be entitled to continue to use it and have precedence over those who came later, according to VF Law.

Related: Ogden mayor declares water shortage, implements watering restrictions

Parry said the doctrine still dictates the administration of Utah water rights, which is the same in many Western states.

The Weber Basin drainage facilitates four federal projects. They all predate the Weber Basin Project, which didn’t come into fruition until the 1950s.

“My goodness, I can see why you’re saying this can get complicated — and probably confusing for homeowners,” said Dujanovic. 

Utah water restrictions and the drought

“The Weber Water Conservancy District is a regional water supplier up here in northern Utah that operates as a junior water-right holder,” Parry said. “We’re farther down that hierarchy when we get our water versus the Echo (Reservoir) water users or the Pineview (Reservoir) water users.”

The Weber Water Conservancy District leverages water from reservoirs like Wanship, Willard Bay and Lost Creek, Parry said. 

It’s difficult to fill up those reservoirs in an ongoing drought, he said, and thus the water restrictions.

Related: Leaders in Davis County tell residents to prepare for another Utah drought

“How do people find out about how these water restrictions are impacting their own cities?” Debbie asked.

“So the best advice I can give is find out who your water provider is and give them a call,” Parry said.

Customers of the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District can find out more about watering restrictions due to the state’s ongoing, historic drought here.

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

One of the topics being discussed during the 2023 Utah Legislative Session is how to combat the tea...
Mark Jones

Bill would allow individuals to become teachers without a bachelor’s degree

A bill being discussed on in the legislative session would allow for individuals to become teachers without obtaining a bachelor's degree.
1 day ago
The main reason small businesses fail in America is that the business owner doesn't have access to ...
Simone Seikaly

Lack of access stands between Black-owned businesses and success

But lack of access to money isn't the only thing that hinders Black-owned business in Utah and across the nation.
1 day ago
More Americans are struggling to pay their energy bills.  Nearly 1.5 million more U.S. households ...
Curt Gresseth

Cost of heating homes in Utah rising as thermometer sinks

The cost of heating a home in Utah is rising because demand has increased and the drought in the West has cut into production.
1 day ago
A bill that could make its way to the Utah legislature in the 2023 session would require school dis...
Mark Jones

Potential redesign of new Utah State Flag emphasizes Native American tribes

Sen. Dan McCay (R-Riverton) is sponsoring a bill that would call for a slight redesign of the new Utah State Flag.
2 days ago
As temperatures in the state plummet far below zero, advocates with Unsheltered Utah built an unsan...
Devin Oldroyd

Unsheltered Utah opens warming tent for unhoused people to escape frigid temperatures

As temperatures in the state plummet far below zero, advocates with Unsheltered Utah built an unsanctioned makeshift warming tent Monday.
2 days ago
education legislation...
Mark Jones

One Utah lawmaker wants to ban cellphones in classrooms

One Utah lawmaker wants to ban cellphones in Utah classrooms.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Utah water restrictions vary based on rights and state history