SW Legal studies in Business

City Water Pressure Proper for Fire Fighting Purposes

Homeowners sued a city when the water pressure was increased to the state standard needed for firefighting purposes. The increase caused damage to their homes. The trial and appeals court held the city immune from the suit because it was in compliance with state standards for a public safety reason.

Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words

Damage; Water Pressure; Government Immunity

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

The Wilkinsons lived in a subdivision in Washington City, Utah. State regulation required the City to maintain a minimum water pressure of 20 psi at all points in the water distribution system. That is needed for fire protection purposes. Rapid population growth in the area meant the water pressure was not adequate in all subdivisions. When the City was able to bring the system up to state standards, it caused damage to some homes, including the Wilkinsons. They sued the City for damages under various legal theories. The district court dismissed the suit. The Wilkinsons appealed.


Affirmed. The City is immune from suit under the Governmental Immunity Act. The water pressure is a state requirement for fire safety purposes. Had the water pressure been improper due to negligence, the City would not be immune, but getting the pressure up to a consistent standard was proper.

Citation Wilkinson v. Washington City, ---P.3d--- (2010 WL 816178, Ct. App., Utah, 2010)

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