Utah Administrative Code

The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (see Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

NOTE: For a list of rules that have been made effective since October 1, 2019, please see the codification segue page.

NOTE TO RULEFILING AGENCIES: Use the RTF version for submitting rule changes.

R655. Natural Resources, Water Rights.

Rule R655-6. Administrative Procedures for Informal Proceedings Before the Division of Water Rights.

As in effect on October 1, 2019

Table of Contents

R655-6-1. Authority and Effective Date.

A. These rules establish and govern the administrative procedures for informal adjudicative proceedings before the Division of Water Rights as required by Section 63G-4-203.

B. These rules govern all informal adjudicative proceedings commenced on or after January 1, 1988. Adjudicative proceedings commenced prior to January 1, 1988, are governed by R655-2.

R655-6-2. Designation of Informal Proceedings.

All adjudicative proceedings of the Division of Water Rights are hereby designated as informal proceedings and include, but are not limited to, all requests for agency action and notices of agency action concerning applications to appropriate water, change applications, exchange applications, applications to segregate; requests for reinstatement and extension of time; proofs of appropriation and change; applications for extension of time within which to resume use of water and proofs of resumption of use; applications to renovate or replace existing wells; permits and authorizations for dam construction, repair and use; applications and other procedures for utilization of geothermal resources; licenses and other permits for water well drillers; applications for stream alteration; and other adjudicative proceedings involving water right administration.

R655-6-3. Definitions.

A. "Adjudicative Proceeding" means a Division action or proceeding that determines the legal rights, duties, privileges, immunities, or other legal interests of one or more identifiable persons, including all Division actions to grant, deny, revoke, suspend, modify, annul, withdraw, or amend the authority, right, or license; and judicial review of all such actions. Those matters not governed by Title 63G, Chapter 4 shall not be included within this definition.

B. "Division" means the Division of Water Rights.

C. "State Engineer" is the Director of the Division of Water Rights, which is the agency having general administrative supervision over the waters of the State. The duties of this Division are primarily set forth in Title 73, Chapters 1 through 6.

D. "Staff" means the Division of Water Rights staff.

E. "Person" means an individual, group of individuals, partnership, corporation, association, political subdivision or its units, governmental subdivision or its units, public or private organization or entity of any character, or other agency.

F. "Party" means the Division or other person commencing an adjudicative proceeding, all respondents, all protestants, all persons permitted by the Presiding Officer to intervene in the proceeding, and all persons authorized by statute or agency rule to participate as parties in an adjudicative proceeding.

G. "Presiding Officer" means the State Engineer, or an individual or body of individuals designated by the State Engineer, designated by the agency's rules, or designated by statute to conduct a particular adjudicative proceeding.

H. "Respondent" means any person against whom an adjudicative proceeding is initiated, whether by the Division or any other person.

I. "Application" means any application which has been filed pursuant to Title 73, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, and shall include, but not be limited to, applications enumerated in R655-6-5.B.3. An application is also a request for agency action. The substantive rules governing the filing and perfecting of these documents are specified in the above Chapters and in other Division rules, and R655-6 governs only the administrative procedures for those applications which have been properly filed.

J. "Applicant" is a person applying for an application.

K. "Protestant" means a person who timely protests an application before the State Engineer pursuant to Section 73-3-7 or who files a protest pursuant to Section 73-3-13.

R655-6-4. Construction.

A. These rules shall be construed in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 4, and these rules supersede any conflicting provision of procedural rules promulgated by the Division.

B. These rules shall be liberally construed to secure a just, speedy and economical determination of all issues presented to the Division.

C. Computation of Time.

The time within which any act shall be done, as herein provided, shall be computed by excluding the first day and including the last, unless the last day is a Saturday, Sunday, or State holiday, and then it is excluded and the period runs until the end of the next day which is neither a Saturday, Sunday, or State holiday.

D. Any pleading or other document required to be filed with the Division shall be considered to be filed on the date the signed original is actually deposited with the Division and not on the date of postmark.

R655-6-5. Commencement of Proceedings.

A. Proceedings Commenced by the Division.

1. All informal adjudicative proceedings commenced by the Division shall be initiated by a notice of agency action as provided by applicable statute, Division policies, and Subsection 63G-4-201(2).

2. The Presiding Officer may require the person against whom the agency action is commenced to file a response within 30 days of the mailing or publication date of the notice of agency action.

B. Proceedings Commenced by Persons Other Than the Division.

1. All informal adjudicative proceedings commenced by persons other than the Division shall be commenced by either completing and submitting prepared forms requesting agency action which are available at the Division or, if no forms are required to initiate a particular proceeding, by submitting in writing a request for agency action which shall include at least the following:

a. the names and addresses of all persons to whom a copy of the request for agency action is being sent;

b. the Division's file number or other reference number, if known;

c. the date that the request for agency action was mailed;

d. a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which agency action is requested;

e. a statement of the relief or action sought from the Division;

f. a statement of the facts and reasons forming the basis for relief or agency action;

g. the name, address and telephone number of the person requesting agency action;

h. the signature of the person requesting agency action; and

i. any filing fees required by statute.

2. For purposes of requests for agency action filed pursuant to Title 73, the adjudicative proceeding commences on the date the request is received by the Division and not on the date of postmark.

3. Forms Requesting Agency Action

The following forms requesting agency action shall be used by persons requesting a particular agency action and are available from the Division:

a. Application to Appropriate Water

b. Temporary Application to Appropriate Water

c. Application for Permanent Change of Water

d. Application for Temporary Change of Water

e. Application to Segregate a Water Right

f. Request for Reinstatement and Extension of Time

(i) Before Fourteen Years

(ii) After Fourteen Years

g. Proof of Appropriation of Water

h. Proof of Permanent Change of Water

i. Application for Exchange of Water

j. Application for Extension of Time Within Which to Resume Use of Water

k. Proof of Resumption of Use of Water

l. Application to Renovate or Replace an Existing Well

m. Application to Construct a Dam Impounding Less Than 20 Acre-Feet

n. Application for Well Driller's License

o. Permit Application to Alter a Natural Channel

4. Upon receipt of a request for agency action, the Presiding Officer shall promptly review the request and shall act in accordance with Subsections 63G-4-201(3)(d) and (e).

5. Protests filed pursuant to Title 73, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 shall be filed in accordance with the governing statutes and these rules.

a. Protests should be filed on letter-sized paper, typewritten and double-spaced, but may be submitted in legible handwritten form. Protests should identify the water right by water right number, state the complete mailing address of the protestant, and should contain a clear, concise statement of the matter relied upon as the basis for the protest, together with an appropriate request for relief. If the name or address of the protestant is not legible, the Division shall not be obligated to give the protestant notice of any further proceedings.

b. Protests signed by more than one person shall be accepted. However, persons filing a multiple-person protest are encouraged to designate a representative for the group of protestants who shall receive all notices on behalf of all who signed the protest. If no representative is designated, each person signing the protest shall be considered a protestant, and shall receive notice of any further proceedings, if their name, mailing address and phone number are clearly legible.

c. Upon the filing of a protest the Presiding Officer shall mail a copy of the protest to the applicant. The applicant may file with the Division an answer to the protest within the time designated by the Presiding Officer. The Presiding Officer shall mail copies of any answer to the protestant, or attorney or authorized representative, if any. The protestant may file a response to the answer with the Division within the time designated by the Presiding Officer. The Presiding Officer shall mail a copy of the response to the applicant.

d. Protests filed after the protest period has expired shall be placed on file and become part of the record. Any person filing a late protest is not a party and may receive notice of any further proceeding, hearing or order.

R655-6-6. Pleadings.

A. Pleadings before the Presiding Officer for administrative hearings may consist of a notice of agency action, a request for agency action, responses, protests, answers to protests, responses to answers, motions together with affidavits, briefs, memoranda of law and fact in support thereof, requests for reconsideration, and other pleadings as allowed by Title 63G, Chapter 4.

B. Motions may be submitted for the Presiding Officer's decision on either written or oral argument, and the filing of affidavits in support or contravention thereof may be permitted. Any written motion may be accompanied by a supporting memorandum of fact and law.

C. Amendments to Pleadings.

The Presiding Officer may allow pleadings to be amended or corrected, and defects which do not affect substantial rights of the parties may be disregarded; provided, however, that applications and other similar documents which are governed by specific statutory provisions shall be amended only as provided by statute.

D. Service of Pleadings.

Except as otherwise specified in R655-6-5.B.5.c., all persons filing pleadings after the request for agency action or the notice of agency action have been filed shall serve copies of the pleadings by regular mail to all parties or their attorney of record or authorized representative on the date of filing the pleadings with the Division. Service upon any attorney or authorized representative constitutes service on the represented party. Service shall be deemed complete on the date of mailing.

E. Post-Hearing Pleadings.

Before or after a hearing is concluded, any party may seek permission from, or may be asked by, the Presiding Officer to file a memorandum or other information. All other parties shall have 20 days, unless shortened or lengthened by the Presiding Officer, from the date of service within which to file responsive pleadings. The filing of any further post-hearing pleadings shall be by permission of the Presiding Officer.

R655-6-7. Hearings.

A. The Division shall hold a hearing if a hearing is required by statute or rule.

B. The Division shall hold a hearing if a hearing is permitted by rule and is requested by a party in writing within 10 days of when the adjudicative proceeding commences, or within the time prescribed in the notice of agency action or by the Presiding Officer.

C. The Division may hold a hearing if a hearing is requested in a timely filed protest.

D. The Division may at its discretion hold a hearing on any adjudicative proceeding to determine matters within its authority.

E. Notice of the hearing will be served on all parties by regular mail at least ten days prior to the hearing.

F. Hearings shall be held for most adjudicative proceedings in the county where the water source is located or the county where the majority of the parties reside. Hearings may be held outside the county at the discretion of the state engineer.

G. If no hearing is held for a particular adjudicative proceeding, the Division shall within a reasonable time issue a decision pursuant to R655-6-16.

R655-6-8. Intervention.

Intervention is prohibited except where a federal statute or rule requires that a state permit intervention.

R655-6-9. Pre-Hearing Procedure.

The Presiding Officer may, upon written notice to all parties of record, hold a pre-hearing conference for the purposes of identifying and simplifying the issues, obtaining admissions of fact and of documents which will avoid unnecessary proof, arranging for the exchange of proposed exhibits, and agreeing to other matters as may expedite the orderly conduct of the proceedings or the settlement thereof.

R655-6-10. Continuance.

If application is made to the Presiding Officer within a reasonable time prior to the date of hearing, upon proper notice to the other parties the Presiding Officer may grant a continuance of the hearing.

R655-6-11. Parties to a Hearing.

A. All hearings shall be open to all parties and all parties shall be entitled to introduce evidence, examine and cross-examine witnesses, make arguments, and fully participate in the proceeding.

B. Any person not a party to the adjudicative proceeding may participate at a hearing as a witness for a party or, upon the consent of the Presiding Officer, may participate as part of the Division's investigative and fact finding powers. Such a person is not a party to the adjudicative proceeding and may not seek judicial review.

R655-6-12. Appearances and Representation.

A. Taking Appearances.

Parties shall enter their appearances at the beginning of a hearing or at a time designated by the Presiding Officer by giving their names and addresses and stating their positions or interests in the proceeding.

B. Representation of Parties.

1. An individual who is a party to a proceeding, or an officer designated by a partnership, corporation, association or governmental subdivision or agency which is a party to a proceeding, may represent his or its interest in the proceeding.

2. Any party may be represented by an attorney at law.

R655-6-13. Failure to Appear--Default.

When a party or his authorized representative to a proceeding fails to appear at a hearing after due notice has been given, the Presiding Officer at his discretion may continue the matter, or may enter an order of default as provided by Section 63G-4-209, or may proceed to hear the matter in the absence of the defaulting party.

R655-6-14. Discovery, Testimony, Evidence and Argument.

A. Discovery is prohibited but the Division may issue subpoenas or other orders to compel production of necessary evidence.

B. All parties shall have access to non-confidential and non-privileged information contained in the Division's files of public record, and to all materials and information gathered in any investigation, to the extent permitted by law.

C. Testimony.

At the hearing, the Presiding Officer shall accept oral or written testimony from any party or witness. Further, the Presiding Officer shall have the right to question and examine any party or witnesses called to present testimony at a hearing. The testimony and statements received at hearings may be under oath.

D. Order of Presentation of Evidence.

Unless otherwise directed by the Presiding Officer at a hearing, the evidence shall be presented first by the party commencing the adjudicative proceeding. Each party may offer rebuttal evidence.

E. Rules of Evidence.

A hearing may be conducted in an informal manner and without adherence to the rules of evidence required in judicial proceedings. Irrelevant, immaterial and unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded. The weight to be given to evidence shall be determined by the Presiding Officer. Any relevant evidence may be admitted if it is the type of evidence commonly relied upon by prudent men in the conduct of their affairs. Hearsay evidence may not be excluded solely because it is hearsay.

F. Documentary Evidence.

Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts. However, upon request, parties shall be given an opportunity to compare the copy with the original.

G. Official Notice.

The Presiding Officer may take official notice of the following matters which shall be considered as facts presented at the hearing:

1. Rules, regulations, official and unofficial reports, surveys, maps, investigations, all Division files, decisions and orders of the State Engineer and any other regulatory agency, state or federal;

2. Official documents introduced into the record by proper reference; provided, however, documents shall be made available so that the parties to the hearing may examine the documents and present rebuttal testimony if they so desire;

3. Matters of common knowledge and generally recognized technical or scientific facts within the Division's specialized knowledge, and any factual information which the Division may have gathered from a field inspection of the water sources or area involved in the proceeding.

H. Oral Argument and Memoranda.

Upon the conclusion of the taking of evidence, the Presiding Officer may, in his discretion, permit the parties to make oral arguments setting forth their positions and also to submit written memoranda within the time specified by the Presiding Officer.

R655-6-15. Record of Hearing.

A. A record of any hearing may be recorded at the Division's expense. When a record is made by the Division, it shall be done by means of an automatic recording device. Any party, at his own expense, may have a reporter approved by the Division prepare a transcript from the record of the hearing.

B. If a party desires that the testimony be recorded by means of a court reporter, that party may employ a court reporter at his own expense and shall furnish a transcript of the testimony to the Division free of charge. This transcript shall be available at the Division office to any party to the hearing.

R655-6-16. Orders.

A. After the Presiding Officer has reached a final decision upon any adjudicative proceeding, he shall make and enter a signed order in writing that states the decision, the reasons for the decision, a notice of the rights of the parties to request reconsideration or judicial review, as appropriate, and notice of the time limits for filing a request for reconsideration or a court appeal. The order shall be based on the facts appearing in any of the Division's files or records and on the facts presented in evidence at any hearings.

B. The signed order described in this section or an order issued in response to a timely-filed request for reconsideration shall constitute the final agency action.

C. A copy of the Presiding Officer's order shall be promptly mailed by regular mail to each of the parties.

R655-6-17. Requests for Reconsideration.

A. Who may file.

Any aggrieved party may file a Request for Reconsideration by following the procedures of Section 63G-4-302. A Request for Reconsideration is not a prerequisite for judicial review.

B. Action on the Request.

Upon the filing of a Request for Reconsideration, the Division shall review the Request and may within 20 days do any or all of the following:

1. issue any preliminary order;

2. summarily deny the Request in whole or in part;

3. summarily grant the relief requested in whole or in part; or

4. set a time for a re-hearing.

C. If the Division does not issue an order within 20 days, the Request shall be considered to be denied.

D. Re-Hearings Limited.

If an order is made granting a rehearing, it shall be limited to the matter specified in the order. Upon rehearing, the Presiding Officer may affirm his former decision or may abrogate it, or may change or modify the same in any particular. That decision shall have the same force and effect as the original decision, but shall not affect any right or the enforcement of any right arising out of or by virtue of the original decision unless so ordered by the Presiding Officer.

R655-6-18. Judicial Review.

A. Any party aggrieved by an order of the State Engineer may obtain judicial review by following the procedures and requirements of Sections 63G-4-401 and -402 and 73-3-14 and -15.

B. The Division may grant a stay of its order or other temporary remedy during the pendency of judicial review on its own motion, or upon petition of a party pursuant to the provisions of Section 63G-4-405.

R655-6-19. Declaratory Orders.

Any interested person may file a request for agency action requesting that the State Engineer issue a declaratory order determining the applicability of any statute, rule, or order within the primary jurisdiction of the Division pursuant to Section 63G-4-503. A request for a declaratory order shall be filed in accordance with Subsection 63G-4-201(3) which request commences an informal adjudicative proceeding. A request shall set forth in detail the specific statute, rule, or order which is in question, the specific facts for which the order is requested, the manner in which the person making the request claims the statute, rule, or order may affect him, and the specific questions for which a declaratory order is requested. Persons may intervene in declaratory proceedings upon filing a timely petition to intervene in accordance with the provision of Section 63G-4-207.

The State Engineer may at his discretion decline to issue declaratory orders if the request concerns matters in issue before a pending adjudicative proceeding, or where he deems the facts presented to be conjectural, or where the public interest would best be served by not issuing an order.

R655-6-20. Emergency Orders.

Except as otherwise provided for by statute, the Division may issue an order on an emergency basis without complying with these rules under the circumstances and procedures set forth in Section 63G-4-502.


administrative procedures, water rights

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment


Notice of Continuation

May 5, 2017

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law

63G-4-203; 73-1; 73-2; 73-3; 73-5; 73-6; 73-22

Additional Information


For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R655, please contact the promulgating agency (Natural Resources, Water Rights). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.