Permanent Transfers provide a method to permanently change the point of diversion or appropriation, the place of use, or the beneficial use of the right from that for which the right was originally issued. The water right holder must obtain approval of a Permanent Transfer from the Department before making any of these changes.
An application for a Permanent Transfer generally requires a map prepared by a certified water right examiner (CWRE). The applicant must submit an application describing: the current water right; the proposed changes; evidence of water use; land ownership or consent by the landowner; and, in most cases, compliance with local land use plans. The water may continue to be used in accordance with the current water right until the transfer application is approved. The proposed use may only occur once the final order approving the Permanent Transfer is issued.
To approve a transfer application, the Department must determine that the proposed change will not enlarge the water right and will not injure other existing water rights. Members of the public are offered a chance to comment and protest a proposed transfer if they believe the right proposed for transfer will be enlarged or an existing water right would be injured. The Department, working with the applicant, may attach conditions to an approval order to eliminate enlargement of the right or potential injury to other water rights. If conditional approval will not eliminate injury or enlargement, the application is denied.
After the transfer is approved, the applicant must make the change. In the case of a change in the type of use or place of use, any portion of the water right involved in the transfer that is not changed is lost. Following completion of the change, a CWRE must prepare a final proof map and site report to be submitted with the applicant’s claim of beneficial use. The map and claim of beneficial use describe the completed change and the extent of beneficial water use under the modified water right. A new water right certificate will be issued to confirm the modified water right.
The Department receives about 200 to 250 applications for a variety of transfers annually. These include approximately 50 irrigation district and other temporary transfers. Due to the pending number of applications, it may take the Department a significant period of time to begin review of new applications.