For a mutual ditch corporation, the bill creates a presumption, which may be changed by changing the corporation's articles of incorporation or bylaws, that the shares of stock owned by a stockholder in the corporation represent:
- The right to use the water rights appropriated or purchased by the corporation; and
- Corresponding rights to divert and deliver the stockholder's water rights through a ditch, canal, reservoir, or other works.
The bill also authorizes these water rights to be limited to a pro rata amount at times when shareholder demand exceeds available supply. A mutual ditch corporation may operate using traditional ditch operating practices.
The bill clarifies that:
- When a shareholder is not using some of or all of the available water under the shareholder's rights, the right to use the water rights does not include the right to prevent other stockholders from using any portion of the corporation's water rights; and
- The statutes covering ditch and reservoir companies do not prevent a stockholder from changing the use of the stockholder's shares or change the standards for water court approval to change a water right.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)