Prisbrey v. Bloomington Water Co

In Prisbrey v. Bloomington Water Co., 2003 UT 56, 82 P.3d 1119, the owner/lessor of a water right filed a change application at the request of its lessee. After the change application was duly noticed and granted by the State Engineer, a neighboring landowner (one Prisbrey) who had not filed a protest or participated in the administrative proceedings, filed a petition for judicial review. Among other rejected arguments, Prisbrey claimed that the published notice of the change application was invalid because it listed the owner/lessor of the water right rather than the lessee. Prisbrey argued that the lessee was the proper party to advance the change application under section 73-3-3(2)(a) because it was then using the water. The argument was rejected, first, for the reason that the lessee was not an appropriator under the law and, second, on the solid foundation that a lessee "owns only a terminable possessory interest in the water rights" and that "it would be illogical to permit the lessee to make a permanent change in the point of diversion, place of use, or purpose for use." Id. at 1124.