Water Law

May 20, 2013--Texas bill would drastically revamp water agency (Denver Post)

New revisions to a major water bill calls for ousting the six-member Texas Water Development Board and its top official before the state embarks on a new $2 billion fund to provide low-interest loans for projects. A historic drought in 2011 spurred Gov.

May 14, 2013--Senate agrees to amendments to water bill, including help to small communities (The Hill)

The Senate agreed to five more amendments to the water infrastructure bill by unanimous consent on May 8th. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced one of the amendments, which would give communities with populations smaller than 25,000 people additional help in developing rural water infrastructure projects.


May 3, 2013--Calming the West's water wars (Los Angeles Times)

America's founders did not anticipate living in the desert. The Constitution's primary mechanism for dividing shared water resources among states — the interstate compact — has proved inadequate to deal with situations in which water is extremely scarce.


April 24, 2013--Panel: More flexibility in state's water laws needed (Greeley Tribune)

Reforming laws to provide more flexibility in how water is used and shared in Colorado will be critical in meeting demands as the state’s population rapidly grows, according to agriculture, environmental and municipal water experts who spoke Tuesday in Denver.


April 17, 2013--Governor signs ditch bill aimed at protecting senior water rights (Greeley Tribune)

Legislation was signed into law this month that will correct a glitch in Colorado water law that was threatening the value of senior water rights. Sponsored by Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, and Rep.


April 14, 2013--Water rights also mean owners have responsibilities (Durango Herald)

With irrigation season comes the cleaning and repairing of irrigation ditches. Colorado law saddles water-right owners with a number of legal responsibilities. It also, however, affords water-right owners significant rights.


Public Trust Doctrine: Part 1

In an ongoing effort to inform the public and water community alike, the following is the first in a four part 2013 series related to a potentially emerging Colorado Public Trust Doctrine issue.

The Public Trust Doctrine is the principle that certain resources are preserved for public use, and that the government is required to maintain them for the public's reasonable use. The doctrine stems from ancient Roman laws that held that seashores not appropriated for private use was open to all. These rights became part of the common law of the United States as established in Illinois Central Railroad vs. Illinois.


Texas Lawsuit

The state of Texas recently filed suit against New Mexico over Rio Grande Compact disputes, with Colorado brought into the fray as a result. The suit, filed in U.S. Supreme Court in January, alleges New Mexico is not delivering to Texas the water owed that state under a multi-state 1938 Rio Grande Compact, which also includes Colorado. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Commissioner Carlos Rubinstein said, “It is unfortunate that we have had to resort to legal action, but negotiations with New Mexico have been unsuccessful, and Texas is not getting the water that it is allocated and legally entitled to.” Rubinstein alleged New Mexico was trying to circumvent and ignore the compact, and by filing suit against New Mexico, Texas was attempting to rectify alleged harm New Mexico had caused Texas water users.


March 26, 2013--Schwartz bill eases way to conserve agricultural water use (Aspen Times)

Ranchers and growers in the Roaring Fork Valley and elsewhere in the Colorado River basin would have a new incentive for conserving water without jeopardizing their water rights under legislation moving forward in the Colorado Legislature. The drought-fueled measure, put forth by state Sen.


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