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An Act Relating To Water; Requiring Subdividers To Prove Adequate Water Supplies On Land From Which Water Rights Have Been Severed Before Final Plat Approval Of A Proposed Subdivision; Declaring An Emergency.

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MOD SB 479

Legislative URL:
SB 479 on
Emergency Clause:
[14] SCONC/SJC-SCONC [21] DNP-CS/DP-SJC [24] DNP-CS/DP [32] fl/a- PASSED/S (35-4) [39] HAGC/HCPAC-HAGC- DP-HCPAC [50] w/drn [51] PASSED/H (55-13) SGND (Apr.4) Ch.173.

Related Legislators

Bill Sponsor:

Related Documents

SCONC Committee Report
SCONC Committee Substitute
Senate Floor Amendment 1
Final Senate Vote
HAGC Committee Report
Final House Vote
Fiscal Impact Report
Final Version

This piece of legislation amends the Municipal Code and the Subdivision Act by adding new sections that require a subdivider to prove that the proposed subdivision will have adequate water in cases where the subdivision is to be on land from which water rights attached to that land have been severed. The bill provides that the approving authority (such as a County Commission in the case of the Subdivision Act) must require the subdivider to acquire sufficient water rights, with the necessary permits from the State Engineer, before the authority can approve the final subdivision plat. The State Engineer, when deciding on the permit application, must determine whether the amount of water being permitted will be sufficient in quantity to meet the maximum requirements of the subdivision, including indoor and outdoor domestic uses. The final subdivision plat cannot be approved until the State Engineer issues the permits. And, finally, the State Engineer cannot approve a permit application if the proposed source of water is a domestic well.


This bill may be a positive step towards ensuring that a subdivision cannot be approved, and thus built, on land for which the water rights were sold off, unless the developer obtains other sources of water.


This bill is not a companion bill to Senate Bill 480, but is related.


The SCONC substitute limits the bill to “irrigation water rights” that have been severed.


The SJC substitute adopted on March 4, 2013 also allows a subdivider to prove there will be enough water to meet the subdivision’s needs by providing a proof of service commitment from a water provider and an opinion from the State Engineer. One concern might be that the new language may allow water to be sold for one price and purchased for another. A benefit might be that the bill will prevent double-dipping by using well water after having sold off irrigation water rights.


The Senate Floor Amendment adopted on March 7, 2013 limits the provision “to land from which irrigation water rights that are appurtenant to that land are severed after the effective date of this section.”


Date of Summary:  2/12/2013, Updated 3/2/2013, 3/5/2013 and 3/8/13