In 2006, the District filed on water rights in 3 basins (Pine Valley, Wah Wah, and Hamlin) – These basins had been virtually uninhabited and unappropriated for over the last 150+ years.
The District then went above statutory requirements and commissioned a study with the USGS to help the State Engineer determine how much water would be sustainably available in that valley.
In 2014, the State Engineer approved 15,000 acre-feet(AF) in Pine Valley and 6,500 AF in Wah Wah Valley for the District. (The District has not yet pursued the Hamlin Valley water right applications). The approval was conditioned to ensure that no senior rights would be impaired, and that the basin will not exceed safe yield (actual sustainable/available water).
Shortly after the State Engineer’s approval in 2014, the decision was challenged in District Court. During litigation, negotiations took place. We are proud of the collaboration wherein a water right settlement agreement was developed between the State Engineer, Beaver County Commission, SITLA and the District in 2019.
The court-decreed settlement agreement approved:
- District Water Rights: 15,000 AF in Pine Valley and 11,275 AF in Wah Wah Valley
- Beaver County Water Rights: 725 AF in Wah Wah with the option to acquire 1,650 AF in Pine.
- SITLA and its lessee (in Beaver County): Use of District’s water rights (6,000 AF) in Wah Wah at no charge up until the point in which the District may need it (approx. 40-50plus years in future).
The District is currently pursuing the use of its court decreed 15,000 AF in Pine Valley. In 2019, the District began the Environmental Process with the BLM for the Pine Valley Water Supply Project(PVWS). Through this process, the aquifer system is being analyzed to ensure that pumping those rights will be sustainable and will not impair others or harm the environment.
Through the Environmental Process, the District has agreed to a monitoring program that will include monitoring of groundwater levels, spring flows, etc. If there are impacts, pumping will be adjusted, and if there is unanticipated impairment, water users will be made whole by supplemental water or other resources as identified in State Law.
The District is committed to ensuring that the PVWS project is environmentally sound, so it can provide a sustainable source of water for the future of Cedar Valley. It has been and will continue to be a long process, but we are embracing that process as it will ensure that things are done legally and correctly.