Who knew our free people who own their own land don't actually own their own water too? I love the part of this article that says "Well drillers are required by statute to provide a well log within 45 days of completion of the well. Unfortunately, very few comply with this statute." Seems it's another LA21 recommended database that "needs" more data from uncooperative Americans. It's also to be expected that when government agencies put out a major media campaign begging Americans to "call" with their "concerns," they always seem to get an iflux of calls afterwards that justifies all the pre-written (new) regulations, which of course leads to innovative ideas for enforcement. First there's a "problem", then there's a solution which leads to a new problem and a new solution... on and on it goes and goes, until the final solution is introduced, and it always means more government/NGO control. It's a brilliant scam.
How dare Alaskans question the integrity of these highly organized soviet agencies?
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 11:00 AM
Subject: [alaskahorsejournal] Water rights mailings
The State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mining, Land & Water, Water Resources Section has had an influx of calls expressing concerns over coal bed methane, mining, construction, farming and agricultural uses, and other development operations. To help inform users of their rights to protect their water supplies and bring people into voluntary compliance with the law, DNR has recently
sent out several informational notices to various users in Alaska. Many of these users are advertising or operating as agricultural users in the Mat-Su Valleys. These mailings include The Water Rights in Alaska Fact Sheet (available online at
http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/mlw/forms/index.htm#water) and an Application for Water Rights. The aforementioned Fact Sheet explains the law and the instances when you may be required to apply or when you may wish to apply voluntarily for a water right.
Not everyone who receives the mailing will need a water right by statute, *but many may wish to secure water rights to protect their supply from future development or limited supplies in areas of concern*. Did you know that DNR can actually come out and require you to meter your water usage or even lock your well or cause it to be
decommissioned? Having a water right to protect the amount of water you're using can minimize this risk to you.
To help you determine if you are required to have a water right and give you an idea of usage, a typical single-family residence *with no livestock* uses about 500 gallons per day (gpd) as an average over the entire year. This is determined by actual use across the United States, with support from municipalities such as Anchorage, which requires 150gpd per bedroom. DNR actually considers the 500gpd
allocation split between 250gpd for interior uses (dishwashing, clothes washing, showers, toilets, cooking, water storage tanks, etc.) and 250gpd for exterior uses (pets, lawn & garden watering (first 10,000sf), irrigation, livestock watering, dust control, etc.). The City of Ann Arbor Michigan also reports that the typical American uses 69.3gpd just for interior uses, so DNR's interior allocation of 250gpd equates to about 3.6 people per home, or 2 to 4 bedrooms.
Typical appropriations for livestock include 15gpd per horse, 2gpd per sheep, 3gpd per goat, 4gpd per hog, 0.5gpd per poultry or rabbit, 1gpd per dog (for kennels), 12gpd for beef cattle, 35gpd for dairy cattle, 0.5 acre-feet per year (afy) per acre for irrigation, etc. This will help you to determine a range for your typical agricultural usage *on top of your typical domestic usage*.
There are other uses that require water rights, such as certain construction activities, dewatering areas, hydro-electric installations, etc. Any diversion, mpoundment, or withdrawal of a qualifying quantity, duration, or frequency requires a water right. You do not have to actually *withdraw* or *consume* the water to be
considered *using* the water.
Some people receiving these notices may already have water rights and the Water Resources staff can help you look up your property by legal description to see if there is an existing water right that needs to be transferred into your name.
If your property had a water right at one time but the lot has been subdivided or split, the legal description has changed, or the use has changed, your water right needs to be amended to reflect these changes.
If you have a water right, it is critical that you keep your mailing address (and the property ownership name) up-to-date so that DNR can contact you when a new application is filed in your area, allowing you an opportunity to comment on the new application.
Even if you do not yet have a water right, it is critical that you report issues of concern with regard to your water supply to DNR. This helps the Water Resources Section to track potential problem areas and better appropriate the resource.
Here are a few commonly misunderstood facts:
All of the water in the State of Alaska is owned by the State and appropriated to the users actually putting it to "beneficial use."
By statute, anyone using "a substantial amount of water" is required to apply for a permit and/or certificate of appropriation. The Fact Sheet explains the statutory definitions of "substantial amount of water" and how this may apply to you.
If you do not have a water right (*even if you are not required to have one by statute*) or if your water right is junior to other users of the same source, you may be subject to water rationing or other limiting actions if a problem develops with your source. Although rare, DNR can actually come out and require you to meter your water usage or even lock your well or cause it to be decommissioned! This is more common in southern states where water supplies are limited and in high demand, but we do already have some areas of concern in Alaska.
"Grandfather Rights" are rare and still required a filing by a specific date in the 1960s (deadline varied by area). Homesteading and related mineral, oil, & gas patents/rights are separate from water rights.
Water rights that go unused for a period of time may be revoked or relinquished.
If you are withdrawing from a private well or a lake, river, stream, creek, or other source, surface or subsurface, even if only seasonally, you may need to file for a water right. If you are withdrawing water ONLY from a city source, you may already be covered under that utility's right. If you are withdrawing ONLY from a community water system, your community water system should have a water right as well as DEC approval, among other approvals.
If you are sharing a source with another property, even if you own both properties, you should record a Water Use Agreement to protect the right to use, access, and maintain the water supply. DNR can give you an example of a typical Water Use Agreement.
Each source requires a separate right. This means if you are pulling from different subsurface aquifers, different surface sources, or any combination thereof, you will need a separate right for each source. If you have more than one well, DNR Hydrologists can review your well logs and help you determine whether or not they are pulling from the same source.
Dams, ponds, or other reservoirs may require a water right and possibly other permits from other agencies.
Well drillers are required by statute to provide a well log within 45 days of completion of the well. Unfortunately, very few comply with this statute. DNR does have an online database of well logs, but it is still in its infancy. If you have a well log, please submit it to DNR for inclusion in the database. If you can't find a well log for your well, check the casing for a sticker, check the underside of the well's cap for a plate identifying the well's depth, static water level, and production capacity, check your closing documents for a well flow test, call the driller, or ask your real estate agent for help. You are not required to have a well log in order to file for a water right, but the more information you can provide, the more effectively DNR can adjudicate your file and protect your right.
Water rights are not issued for emergency fire fighting.
Water rights are not issued for speculation.
If you have questions about your rights and the law, call DNR at 907.269.8600 and reference the packet you received in the mail. If you did not receive a packet, you can also call and ask to speak with someone in the Water Resources Section about Water Rights in Alaska.