Certificates of Appropriation

When applicants receive an approval of application and permit to proceed they must begin developing the water right by completing the diversion works and using water in accordance with the terms, conditions and limitations of the permit. This water right development process is called Perfection.

A reasonable time of not fewer than four calendar years after the deadline for construction of the diversion works is allowed for perfection of a water right. The exception is municipal users, which are generally allowed 20 years to perfect, with an opportunity to review water use after a ten year period. The amount of time actually allowed is set forth in the approval document.  During this period, or shortly thereafter, Division staff will conduct a field inspection of the diversion works to determine the extent to which water was used in accordance with the approved permit.

Requests for extensions of time to perfect will be considered if the water user shows good cause. The owner must submit a written request for an extension of time to perfect before the deadline for perfection of the water right, as set forth on the approval document. The request must also be accompanied by a fee of $100.

Once the perfection period expires, the Chief Engineer will issue a "Draft Certificate of Appropriation," setting forth the known maximum rate of diversion, the maximum annual quantity of water used during the perfection period, the point of diversion and place of use, and use made of water. The water right owner(s) then will have 30 days to comment on the draft certificate and to provide any additional information concerning the water diverted and applied to beneficial use on the authorized place of use during the perfection period.

The Chief Engineer will consider the comments submitted by the owners in response to the draft certificate, and then issue a certificate of appropriation. The certificate essentially sets forth the extent to which a water right was perfected (or developed) within those terms and conditions of the approval of application and permit to proceed. The certificate of appropriation will be based on the year of maximum use during the perfection period, as documented by the annual water use report and information gathered during the field inspection.

A water right is a real property right of the land on which it is established. It transfers with title to the land, unless expressly withheld. The certificate of appropriation is a legal document which must be recorded with the Register of Deeds in the county or counties where the point of diversion is located. DWR must be notified when the ownership of the water right is changed or modified. Up-to-date ownership information is important for DWR to communicate with appropriate people regarding their property rights.

Updating Ownership Records or Designating a Water Use Correspondent

Pertinent Statutes and Regulations:
  • K.S.A. 82a-714 - Certificates of Appropriation
  • K.A.R. 5-3-7 - Extensions of Time
  • K.A.R. 5-8-3 - Perfection (Multiple Water Rights)
  • K.A.R. 5-8-6 - Perfection of Water Rights
  • K.A.R. 5-8-7 - Extensions of Time to Perfect a Water Right
  • K.A.R. 5-8-8 - Requirement of Owner to Allow Chief Engineer to Conduct a Timely Field Inspection

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Certificate Unit at (785) 564-6642.