Water Law

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.

March 22, 2013--States united in drought concerns (Alamosa News)

Pending litigation aside, representatives from the three Rio Grande Compact states united yesterday in their joint concern over continued drought along the Rio Grande corridor. Alamosa hosted the annual Rio Grande Compact Commission meeting, which rotates among the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

March 16, 2013--Supreme court justice explains history of water law (Fort Morgan Times)

In the 1970s, agriculture used 93 percent of Colorado's water -- but today it only uses 86 percent. That shows how much water has been transferred to municipal and industrial use over the past 40 years, said Colorado Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs during a water forum sponsored by the Colorado Livestock Association at Morgan Community College Thursday.

March 5, 2013--Water decree bill clears Colorado Senate (Fort Morgan Times)

The "most important water bill" in a decade has cleared the Senate and is next up in the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee on Monday, March 4. SB 74 came out of the Interim Water Resources Review Committee in September, and got a 34-1 vote from the Senate on Feb. 20, where Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) called it the most important water bill in a decade.

February 8, 2013--Call on North Platte rights as drought intensifies (Denver Post)

Intensifying drought has prompted the first wintertime call on administration of water rights in the North Platte River drainage in Wyoming since 2005, an announcement that will re

February 2, 2013--Colorado legislature dives into water issues (Fort Morgan Times)

The House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee spent a long afternoon Monday plowing through the first of a dozen bills on water issues expected in the 2013 legislative session. The committee unanimously approved House Joint Resolution 13-1004, which encourages the U.S.

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