BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Utah farmers gain more flexibility with water rights under proposed bill

Mar 8, 2023, 2:20 PM | Updated: 2:28 pm

This years record-breaking runoff has made it difficult for Utah farmers to start planting their sp...

FILE: Near Fremont, Utah along Highway 72, a farmer cuts crop of alfalfa for uses on a nearby dairy farm. (Don Grayston)

(Don Grayston)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill sitting on Gov. Cox’s desk aims to get rid of the “use it or lose it” mentality at the heart of agricultural water rights in Utah.  It’s a bill that has the state’s farming community rejoicing.

That’s because the bill provides assurances for what a Utah farmer, like President of Utah Farm Bureau Ron Gibson, can or cannot do with their water rights.

For example, under H.B.33 Instream Water flow Amendments if a farmer has 100 shares of water but uses just 80 shares, the farmer won’t lose the unused 20 shares. Instead, they’ll be able to use it elsewhere on their farm.

That, or leave it for public benefit and receive compensation.

“It incentives us to conserve as opposed to before the snowpack (when) we were incentivized not to conserve,” said Gibson.  

Gibson says the Utah water rights bill also allows farmers to diversify their farms with less risk.

“Sometimes, for example, we do a lot of drip irrigation and with that we use about 40% less water,” said Gibson. Later in the season, farmers can use the water they saved on crops that need it more. 

If signed by Gov. Cox, the Utah water rights bill will be in effect on July 1st. 

“We are really excited to have this piece of legislation,” said Gibson. “This is something that gives us a little bit of certainty as we go ahead and continue to be good stewards of the land and water in the state … ”

Related reading 

We want to hear from you.

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

Business + Economy

Lake Powell as seen from Navajo Mountain. The Navajo Nation is asking why their request for funding...

Eric Cabrera

Navajo Nation left wondering why funding continually denied

The Navajo Nation is asking why their request for funding for a road has been denied for the last 15 years.

9 hours ago

Now hiring sign...

PAUL WISEMAN AP Economics Writer

US economy grew solid 3.2% in fourth quarter, a slight downgrade from government’s initial estimate

Far from stumbling, the economy grew 2.5% for all of 2023, topping the 1.9% growth in 2022.

13 hours ago

baby feet, utah postpartum retreat helps new moms...

Britt Johnson

Utah company aims to help postpartum moms with special retreats

The founder of Utah Postpartum Retreat said she thinks new moms are at high risk for developing postpartum mood disorders because they lack support.

13 hours ago

Power lines are pictured in utah, utah has lower electricity bill than other states...

Tammy Kikuchi

Study shows Utahns pay cheapest electricity bills in the country

Utah residents are paying less for power than any other state. Rocky Mountain Power says they work hard to keep it that way.

1 day ago

Welcome to Tooele sign is pictured on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.A Child was taken to a nearby Hospita...

Britt Johnson

Tooele Valley Airport to get some major updates

A new master plan for the Tooele Valley Airport will be shared with the public this week.

1 day ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks on student loan debt forgiveness, in the Roosevelt Room of the Wh...

AAMER MADHANI, COLLEEN LONG and COLLIN BINKLEY Associated Press

Biden says too many Americans are saddled with school debt as he cancels federal loans for 153,000

The first round of forgiveness from the SAVE plan will clear will help with $1.2 billion in student loans.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Utah farmers gain more flexibility with water rights under proposed bill