By VIRGINIA GIORGIS
MOUNTAIN VIEW – The water right issue surfaced again at the regular meeting and a special meeting of the Joint Powers Board earlier this month.
The ownership of water rights and the requirement users turn water rights over to the JPB has been a thorny issue ever since the beginning. The latest issue was brought to the surface in the last couple of years as the JPB told the Blacks Fork Water District the users would have to turn over their water rights. Landowners in the district objected.
According to JPB officials, to receive use of the water system, landowners were required to turn over an acre of water right if they live out of town. In town, landowners turn over their water right, be it a lot, quarter acre, half acre, etc.
The Blacks Fork Water District ran into financial problems years ago and was unable to maintain their system. The state stepped in and had the JPB take over the system. In conjunction, the JPB also assumed the large debt of the Blacks Fort Water District. At that time, there was no mention landowners would have to turn over some of their water rights, according to members of the District.
Earlier this year, after several meetings in which it appeared the two sides wouldn’t be able to come to an agreement, a committee was formed with members from both sides to study and research the issue. The committee is supposed to meet with the board on Dec. 12 with some solutions.
However, at this month’s meetings, according to JPB chair Bob Stoddard Tuesday, there wasn’t a quorum of board members at the special meeting on Nov. 13. The meeting resulted in everyone “sitting around the table” discussing the water rights issue. At the regular meeting on Nov. 14, a proposal was made which would allow landowners the option of paying for the original hook-up fee in order to keep the water rights. In conjunction, a motion was made and approved to have the board’s attorney draft a resolution to implement the proposal no later than the board’s regular meeting in January.
One problem, according to Stoddard, is over the legality of making users turn over their water rights so the board needs “to research this for the legal avenues.”
For the complete article see the 11-30-2012 issue.
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