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.


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.


April 2, 2015--Colorado House votes to allow rainwater collection (Bloomberg Business)

Colorado’s House of Representatives has approved a bill that would end the nation’s only ban on homeowners collecting rainwater. If signed into law, the measure would allow for the personal collection of as much as 110 gallons.


March 29, 2015--Tipton will re-introduce his water rights measure (Grand Junction Sentinel)

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., will tweak a previous measure of his to have the federal government recognize states’ water laws, Tipton said Saturday at the Club 20 spring meeting. A measure he plans to carry this Congress will take aim at a U.S. Forest Service directive he criticized as an overreach on control of groundwater.


March 18, 2015--Western Slope legislators dismayed over Senate water bill (Grand Junction Sentinel)

The Colorado Senate gave final approval Tuesday to a water bill that made some Western Slope lawmakers a bit uneasy. The measure, SB183, requires water court judges, when considering changes in water uses, to decide based on actual historical use of that water, rather than uses not approved by a prior water decree. Several Western Slope lawmakers from both parties questioned why such


March 17, 2015--Bills on Colorado ski-area water, mineral rights do a face plant in Legislature (Denver Business Journal)

Two more bills attempting to address disputes between environmentalists and environmentally-minded government agencies on the one hand and property-rights owners on the other have bitten the dust in the Colorado Legislature. Democrats on the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Monday killed Senate Bills 64 and 93, both sponsored by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling


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