How to Secure Water Rights for Your Project

March 30, 2012 — 1,023 views  
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The use of water is, in most circumstances, the free province of the public, so long as that use does not cause harm or detriment to the environment or the general population. For commercial and industrial purposes, however, certain regulations apply to the use of water resources in a given area.

Throughout much of the United States, water rights are managed by agencies within state governments. Such departments may be referred to as the Office of the State Engineer, or in some cases the Division of Water Rights (or both interchangeably, as is true in Utah).

Applications to obtain water rights for a commercial project must be filed with that agency or its counterpart, depending on the area. Such documentation must include information explaining the nature of the project's water use, the body of water in question and the place where it will be diverted. It may also be necessary to document the amount of water affected by the project.

Once the application is filed, it will be subject to review by the appropriate agency. If the application becomes contentious in some way, a hearing may take place before a decision is made to approve or deny the bid. Upon approval, applicants may be required to hire a surveyor to review the area of the development and to file proof of having done so.