85-2-317. Limitation on appropriation of ground water. (1) After July 1, 1991, the department may not approve a permit to appropriate ground water in excess of 3,000 acre-feet per year unless:
(a) the applicant proves and the department finds that the applicable criteria in 85-2-311 are met; and
(b) the department then petitions the legislature and the legislature affirms the decision of the department after one or more public hearings.
(2) Subsection (1) applies to any permit to appropriate ground water for which application has been made but which has not been granted as of May 7, 1979.
(3) This section does not apply to appropriations by municipalities for municipal use or to appropriations for public water supplies as defined in 75-6-102 or to appropriations for the irrigation of cropland owned and operated by the applicant.
(4) Any person, association, corporation, or other entity that applies for a permit to appropriate ground water, singularly or collectively, for the purpose of circumventing this section is punishable by a fine not exceeding $5,000.