By SAMANTHA MAXFIELD
MOUNTAIN VIEW — The Bridger Valley Joint Powers Board held their monthly business meeting Dec. 11 to discuss a letter from the state answering legal obligations over the transfer of water rights.
A Bridger Valley Joint Powers by law states the Bridger Valley Joint Powers Board may obtain one acre of water rights from landowners in Bridger Valley. A letter was sent to the state board of control concerning the transfer of water. The board’s concerns included the lack of recording of water rights in previous years and protecting themselves for the future.
After clarification from Ken Walker, board engineer, and an explanation of a deed verses a consent petition, the board decided Walker needed to determine an exact procedure on what Bridger Valley Joint Powers needs in order to comply with the state law for water right transfers.
Deeds have been recorded in previous years by Bridger Valley Joint Powers but the state would prefer consent petitions filed with the county clerks office.
The board agreed, if the land in question had not changed owners from the original deed,
a consent form could be signed and filed with the clerk of courts. If the land has changed owners, the board decided there was not much more that could be done.
“We could go bankrupt and let the landowners go bankrupt fighting over an acre of water rights,” chairman Bob Stoddard said, “or we could keep that money towards something in the future that has more substantial water.”
This statement pleased the concerned citizens who attended the meeting.
Moving forward, the Bridger Valley Joint Powers Board will review their policies and procedures to make important changes to comply with state rules and regulations. New hook ups will need to include a legal description of the one acre of land that will be filed with the county clerk for the board’s use of the water rights.
For the complete article see the 12-20-2013 issue.
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