Lyon to consider ordinance on water rights dedications

Lyon County property owners looking to divide and parcel their land will first have to obtain water rights under a proposed county ordinance, and then relinquish those rights to either state or county authorities.

The ordinance will be heard by the county commission at Thursday's regular meeting.

The bill, Senate Bill 275, was passed during the last legislative session. It established rules for dedicating or giving up water rights and mandated counties to develop a program requiring water rights to be obtained before large lots can be parceled into smaller ones.

If the parcel is outside a municipal or private water system, rights are dedicated to the state engineer, and if they are served by a utility within the water basin, they are dedicated to the county.

Utilities Director Mike Workman said the state is requiring counties to create and enforce these ordinances.

The commission will look at the ordinance for the first time on Thursday.

Workman said water rights would be relinquished to the state if there is no water provider, or to the county or water provider if there is.

Workman said that by relinquishing water rights, the landowner would be required to purchase permitted water within the basin and give up those rights to the state, if there is no water provider. The Division of Water Resources would be the approving agency and track the relinquishments, then permit the installation of a well.

If there is a water provider, they get the rights.

For example, in Mark Twain, where wells are prevalent, the state would get the water. In Dayton, Lyon Utilities would, and in Stagecoach, the Stagecoach ID would be the recipient.

The state engineer has suggested that Lyon County's well credit program be expanded to the entire county, which would allow for future connection to a public system should it become available, he said.

Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or call 881-7351.


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