Sep 21 2008
The Colorado Water Conservation Board is pondering a “water partnership” rights structuring which would allow the state to claim and hold water rights – competing with private holders – in case of special need for storage or for downstream flows if a drought occurs and senior users called for their water.
As in other prior appropriation states, water rights generally can be claimed only be parties who put the water to a specific beneficial use. Only in unusual instances has the state of Colorado (some state governments have more liberal provisions) directly owned water rights.
As the Grand Junction Sentinel described the new proposal, “The policy, if enacted, would allow the board to acquire water rights in several ways. The hypothetical instance cited by [board members] Redifer and Gimbel was a small dam that needs repair. Its owners, however, can’t afford to do the work, so the board would step in and complete repairs in exchange for some or all of the water rights. Those rights would then be applied to what are termed nonconsumptive uses, such as recreational or environmental uses in which the water remains in the stream.”
Board action – not necessarily final disposition – is expected at its meeting in October.
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