Permission of the State Engineer or Board of Control is required before a permitted water well or spring can be relocated, deepened, or the point(s) and areas(s) where the water is beneficially used can be changed.
The most common changes to groundwater rights are listed below. For a complete list of potential changes to water rights (including Exchange Water and Submerged Lands - Petition for Change of Water Rights), please contact the Board of Control.
Change of location of well without loss of priority (Deepening and/or Relocating a Well) - A groundwater appropriator can change the location of his well to a point within the same aquifer in the vicinity of the original location, without loss of priority, by securing approval of the Board of Control if the groundwater right has been adjudicated or if the groundwater right has not been adjudicated but the water has been applied to beneficial use.
In cases involving domestic or stock water wells which are not adjudicated but the water has been applied to beneficial use, the State Engineer may approve a change of location.
If the water right is not adjudicated and the water has not been applied to beneficial use, approval for the change in location may be granted by the State Engineer.
No petition shall be granted if the rights of other appropriators shall be injuriously affected thereby. No petition granted shall increase the total amount of the appropriation of water set forth int he original permit (W.S. 41-3-917).
Change in Use or Place of Use - When an owner of a water right wishes to change a water right from its present use to another use, or from the place of use under the existing right to a new place of use, he shall file a petition requesting permission to make such a change. The petition shall set forth all pertinent facts about the existing use and the proposed change in use, or where a change in place of use is requested, all pertinent information about the existing place of use and the proposed place of use. The Board of Control may require that an advertised public hearing or hearings be held at the petitioner's expense. The petitioner shall provide a transcript of the public hearing to the board. The change in use, or change in place of use, may be allowed, provided that the quantity of water transferred by the granting of the petition shall not exceed the amount of water historically diverted under the existing use, nor exceed the historic rate of diversion under the existing use, nor increase the historic amount consumptively used under the existing use, nor decrease the historic amount of return flow, not in any manner injure other existing lawful appropriators. The Board of Control shall consider all facts it believes pertinent to the transfer which may include the following:
(i) The economic loss to the community and the state if the use from which the right is transferred is discontinued.
(ii) The extent to which such economic loss will be offset by the new use.
(iii) Whether other sources of water are available for the new use (W.S. 41-3-104).
Change of Point of Diversion or Means of Conveyance - Any person entitled to the beneficial use of water, whether under a a permit issued by the State Engineer, or a certificate of appropriation issued by the Board of Control pursuant to W.S. 41-4-511, who desires to change the point of diversion or means of conveyance, or both, shall file a petition with:
(i) The Board of Control if the use of the water has been adjudicated under a certificate of appropriation;
(ii) The State Engineer in all other cases. The State Engineer may consider a petition even if water has not been applied to beneficial use, however, any change in point of diversion granted by the State Engineer shall be in the vicinity of the original diversion, and provided:
(A) The change shall not alter the original project concept; and
(B) The water shall be diverted from the same source of supply described in the original permit (W.S. 41-3-114).
Temporary Change in Use - Any person shall have the right to acquire by purchase, gift or lease, the right to the use of water which may be embraced in any adjudicated or valid unadjudicated water right, or any portion thereof, for a period of not to exceed two years, for highway construction or repair, railroad construction or repair, drilling and producing operations, or other temporary purposes, on its own behalf or on behalf of its agents, employees or contractors... Only that portion of a water right so acquired which has been consumptively used under the historical use made of the water right, may be diverted by a temporary user (W.S. 41-3-110).
An application for a temporary change in use can be obtained from the Surface Water Division,