Water Law

Helping Good Samaritans Clean Up Abandoned Hardrock Mines

For years Colorado legislatures have been trying to pass laws that would make it easier for groups to clean up toxic pollution from abandoned mines. These groups, which are not responsible for the pollution but want to clean it up anyway, are called, appropriately enough, Good Samaritans.


May 22, 2015--Obama set to strengthen federal role in clean water regulation (New York Times)

The Obama administration is expected in the coming days to announce a major clean water regulation that would restore the federal government’s authority to limit pollution in the nation’s rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands.


May 7, 2015--Water attorney tapped for river study (Cortez Journal)

The phrase “implied water rights” for special designations on federal lands sent chills down the spines of local irrigators at a meeting discussing the legal ramifications on their potential below McPhee dam.


May 6, 2015--Colorado measure to allow rooftop rain barrels fails (9 News)

Colorado's only-in-the-nation ban on backyard rain barrels is sticking around for another year. The state Senate moved Tuesday to reject a bill to allow homeowners to use up to two 55-gallon rain barrels. The maneuver was a late-evening vote to delay the bill, meaning it won't make it to the governor's desk before lawmakers conclude work for the year.


May 3, 2015--Rain-barrel measure could wash away in Colo. (Durango Herald)

A measure that would allow Coloradans to collect and store rainwater that falls on their roofs has hit a storm and could drown. Supporters say the bill has been held hostage by the Republican chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee, who very publicly loathes even the concept of the legislation.


April 17, 2015--Senate panel delays vote on rain-barrel bill (Grand Junction Sentinel)

Homeowners who use rain barrels are violating state water laws, but a bill discussed in a Senate panel on Thursday would make it OK. Under HB1259, which cleared the Colorado House last month on a 45-20 vote, homeowners would be able to use two 55-gallon barrels to collect rainwater, but only for use on their gardens and lawn. The thinking behind the measure is two-fold, said Sen.


April 10, 2015--Lawns targeted in water conservation discussions (Pine River Times)

Your water-sucking green lawn is a thing of the past, Gov. Jerry Brown told California residents last week. That theme carried through several presentations to a full house crowd at the 33rd annual Water Seminar on April 3 in Durango, sponsored by the Southwestern Water Conservation District.


April 8, 2015--Water wars in California: Factory farms draining the state dry (Huff Post)

California Governor Jerry Brown has been talking tough about California's growing drought crisis. In January he declared a state of emergency saying, "I'm calling on all Californians to conserve water in every way possible," and just last week he announced that we are "in a new era" of drought severity.


Federal 2015 Water-Related Issues and Legislation

The Congressional Research Service issued a new report in January highlighting what the 2015 114th Congress faces related to water resource development, management, and protection issues. Ongoing issues include competition over water, drought and flood responses and policies, competitiveness and efficiency of US harbors and waterways, and innovative and alternative financing approaches. To view the full report go to http://aquadoc.typepad.com/files/crs_report_wr_issues_114congress.pdf.


Water and Land-Use Planning Legislation

Sponsored by State Senator Ellen Roberts (R-Durango) and State Representative Ed Vigil (D-Fort Garland), SB15-008 entitled Promote Water Conservation in Land Use Planning, is an attempt to tie water conservation with land-use planning through state water funding programs. The bill came out of the interim water resources committee with provisions and a proposed amendment by Roberts that would make conservation training mandatory for water officials and land use planners. It would apply to water providers that supply more than 2,000 acre-feet of water annually. The bill is getting pushback from municipal water providers, who are offering alternative language that allows for more time to develop conservation plans and gives them credit for quantifiable conservation programs in the past. The bill has passed and moved onto the Governor for signature.


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