A Study of the Effects of Water Institutions on Planning and Management of Water Resources in Utah

Donald H. McLean


One area of research that has been somewhat neglected in water planning programs and water development is that pertaining to water law and water institutions. Over the years each state has developed a complex system of water law and organizations for the allocation and distribution of water. The usual role of these institutions is one of orderly development and the efficient use of the water resource. However, in many case s water law and institutions have imposed serious constraints upon the planning and the most efficient use of a valuable resource.

This study, through historic research, has attempted to define these water institutions in the state of Utah. In order to fully identify these agencies an in-depth study was made of the active water institutions in Weber County. This was accomplished through personal interviews, review of articles of incorporation, court records, annual reports and similar documents.

The study has revealed that all of these institutions as established by legislation have the opportunity to overlap in areas of jurisdiction, sources of water and potential customers. This possibility of overlapping or duplication of services exists but may not necessarily be practiced.

The most serious legislative omission is the lack of vertical coordination between the state and local agencies and horizontal cooperation among institutions operating in the same area. This lack of coordination and cooperation has precluded the most effic ient use and development of the water resources of the state.