Up for discussion at the Aug. 15 City of Caliente City Council meeting, was the settlement agreement from the State Engineer’s office regarding Caliente’s available acre feet of water.
Out of the 8,199 acre feet of water rights in Caliente, 7,880 acre feet are considered the culinary water rights available, the water to use for the municipality of Caliente.
The State Engineer’s office submitted a proposed settlement to the City of Caliente that reduces their acre feet of water rights to 5,718, a difference of 2,162 acre feet.
Each member of the Council spoke on their thoughts of the matter, and all were upset to make what Councilmember JoLyn Cardinal said was, “one of the hardest decisions,” they’ve ever had to vote on.
Councilmember Victor Jones said the, “economic feasibility of fighting the case,” was the main detail in their decision making process. He said even after spending money to fight the case from the State Engineer, there is no guarantees the City of Caliente would win.
Councilmembers Steve Rowe and Cody Christensen both agreed they were not comfortable with the decision. Councilman Chirstensen went on to say, “I think we’re getting a raw deal from the state.”
Mayor Stana Hurlburt said she has, “agonized over this.”
Another big change to the water rights was adjusting the number of certificated and permitted water rights. Caliente has nearly four times more certificated water rights than permitted water rights.
In order for a permit to become certificated, rates and duties must be presented. Many of the water certificates for Caliente only had a rate assigned to them, and therefore the certificates were completed incorrectly. The proposed settlement would make many certificated water rights permitted instead.
The City Council then motioned to approve the settlement presented from the State Engineer. The Council voted unanimously.