**attached contains the following: *
For Immediate Release
Contact: Aimee Edwards
mobile: (801) 755-3085
Governor signs Arches National Park Water Right Agreement
Agreement with U.S. Department of Interior Removes possibility of future
litigation and outlines protections for Basin Water users
Moab, Utah (May 22, 2015) – Gov. Gary R. Herbert signed today a water right
agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior and Arches National Park.
The agreement outlines Arches water rights and removes the possibility of
future litigation. It also identifies protections for basin water users,
including businesses, ranchers, farmers and those that recreate in red rock
“Today’s agreement between the state and federal government once again
shows our ability to collaborate and solve complex challenges when we work
together,” said Governor Herbert. “These agreements don’t happen overnight.
They take time and a commitment from everyone involved, but we came out of
this process with a fair and equitable agreement that benefits Arches and
the state of Utah.”
A reserved water right was established when Arches National Park was
created in 1929. However, the details of that right were not quantified at
that time and the state continued to appropriate water in the area
following the establishment of the park.
The new agreement means Utah can once again clearly distribute water and
regulate the basin’s system while preserving the rights of other water
users in the area. As one of the basin’s senior water rights holders, the
United States has agreed to allow junior water rights holders to continue
receiving their water allocation out of priority. This agreement allows
water rights owners upstream, like ranchers and irrigators, to continue
their water use unimpeded.
As part of the agreement, Arches National Park receives 120 acre-feet of
water for park administrative uses, including the visitor center and
campgrounds. Protections are also in place that prevent natural streams and
springs within the park from being diverted for other purposes.
“It’s our responsibility to ensure Utah’s natural resources like water are
protected, conserved and used wisely for the benefit of our state,” said
Mike Styler, Utah Department of Natural Resources executive director. “This
agreement allows us to continue to meet the needs of existing water users
in the basin, while also meeting the needs of Arches National Park and its
desire to protect the park’s streams and springs.”
The Arches agreement is Utah’s tenth reserved water right agreement with
the federal government. Past agreements include Cedar Breaks National
Monument; Golden Spike National Historic Site; Hovenweep National Monument;
Natural Bridges National Monument; Rainbow Bridge National Monument;
Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Zion National Park. Natural Bridges
was the last water rights agreement signed by Gov. Herbert.
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