WHOSE WATER IS IT? Salt River Project explains historic rights, questionable rights, water certainty

Salt River Project has asked 125 Camp Verde landowners to review historical documents and enter into agreements regarding historic water use for their properties. /VVN/Bill Helm


By Bill Helm | Camp Verde Bugle

inding solutions to water problems “is in our DNA,” said SRP Water Rights Analyst Lucas Shaw. “These solutions are not always building infrastructure, and today most of them involve cooperation with other water users.” VVN/Bill Helm The website LawForSeniors.org is a veritable treasure trove of information that breaks down water rights in the most layman of terms. For those who prefer the human touch, there’s always Lucas Shaw, water rights analyst for the Salt River Project.

It was 100 years ago – June 12, 1919 to be exact – when the Arizona Surface Water Code was enacted. What this means, Shaw said, is that water users must apply and receive a permit for new or expanded water uses.

Before 1919, water users “generally only had to provide written notice of their new water uses,” he said. “Then, they could begin using water.”

Without proof of historic – pre-1919 – water use on lands, it is believed that the water use began after 1919 and are subject to the Arizona Water Code, Shaw said.

Historic water uses, according to Shaw, are the water uses on lands where there is documentation that proves water use existed on that land prior to the Arizona Surface Water Code.


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February 2019