73-22-8 Geothermal fluids as water resource -- Application for appropriation required -- Priorities. (1) Geothermal fluids are deemed to be a special kind of underground water resource, related to
and potentially affecting other water resources of the state. The utilization or distribution for their thermal content and subsurface injection or disposal of same shall constitute a beneficial use of the water resources of the state.
(2) (a) Geothermal owners shall, prior to the commencement of, or increase in, production from
a well or group of wells to be operated in concert, file an application with the division to appropriate such geothermal fluids as will be extracted from the well or group of wells. Publication of applications shall be made as provided in Section 73-3-6, and protests may be filed as provided in Section 73-3-7. The division shall approve an application if it finds that the applicant is a geothermal owner and that the proposed extraction of geothermal fluids will not impair existing rights to the waters of the state.
(b) The division may grant the quantity of an application on a provisional basis, to be finalized upon stabilization of well production. Flow testing of a discovery well shall not require an application to appropriate geothermal fluids.
(3) The date of an application to appropriate geothermal fluids, when approved by the division, shall be the priority date as between the geothermal owner and the owners of rights to water other than geothermal fluids. No priorities shall be created among geothermal owners by the approval of an application to appropriate geothermal fluids.
Enacted by Chapter 188, 1981 General Session