Water Marketing Strategies Report

Utah’s water marketing efforts and goals

For over 175 years, the prior appropriation doctrine has governed water in Utah. This doctrine recognizes private rights to use the public’s water. The prior appropriation doctrine creates stability because it clearly dictates how water is to be used and distributed in times of shortage (priority). The prior appropriation doctrine is also flexible and provides a system for changing water rights to new and different uses. 

Recent studies have identified “water marketing” as a means to incentivize changes in the use of water. Water marketing is generally the act of applying market principles like leasing, buying or selling to balance supply and demand needs. Markets are attractive because they work with the prior appropriation system and provide local control.

To employ the benefits of water marketing, Utah passed the Utah Water Banking Act and funded the development of Statewide Water Marketing Strategies. Derived from four Pilot Projects and stakeholder feedback, Utah has created guides, templates and tools that:

  • Explain general water marketing concepts and principles
  • Organize common water user questions into functional templates 
  • Provide concrete examples of water marketing methods (platforms to bring together interested participants) 
  • Provide concrete examples of water marketing transaction types (contracts and other instruments for organizing terms of transactions) 
  • Help interested participants understand the Utah Water Banking Act and apply to create a water bank 

The goal of this effort is to empower local water users to use market tools to their advantage. To learn more about Utah’s efforts, please review our final Statewide Water Marketing Strategies Report.

Statewide Water Marketing Strategies Report

An overview of the report is now available; check back for the full report soon.

VOLUME 1: Executive Summary

VOLUME 2: Full Technical Report

  • Purpose and Need
  • Utah Water Banking Act
  • Statewide Marketing Strategies
  • Marketing Milestones
  • Marketing Methods and Transactions
  • Water Marketing and Utah Water Policy
  • Conclusion and Parting Thoughts

VOLUME 3: Pilot Project Reports

  • Price
  • Cache Valley
  • Snyderville Basin
  • Uintah Basin

VOLUME 4: Appendices and Materials

  • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Reporting Requirements
  • Tips and Tools
  • Water Banking in Colorado
  • Water Bank Examples in US
  • List of Materials


More information on Utah water marketing can be found on our Water Marketing main page.

If you have questions or need further information, please email WaterMarketing@utah.gov.