Land And Water U.S.A.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


We oppose SB18-170 for the following reasons:

a) The purpose is obtuse. What’s the need? What’s the intent? It is respective of a state or federal “fish & wildlife” mandate? If yes, which?

b) Where do “newly constructed reservoir(s)”intend to get their water?

c) As you will read by the following example of the Latham/Central Case No X  - and referring to the property of Chuck Sylvester, it’s obvious some “applicants” to Water Court do not include Property Owners in their dealings.  Do you think SB18-170 will stop this violation of law?

d) Who wants this law?

e) Who will benefit?

f)  Who will be harmed?

g)  Is it really just a continuation of the ongoing violations of our pre-existing valid Senior Water Rights?

h) Will “fish and wildlife” create another layer of federal – as in the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program that should rightfully be terminated?

Though “The Resolution” is a straight forward simple reaffirmation of “preexisting rights,” legislators basically told us, “that’s too complicated; we don’t understand water law,” are we to understand they suddenly understand this complex new SB18-170?

We URGE our legislators to first comply with Colorado Water Law. Then wait for a period of no less than 10 years to determine what and where

any excess water might be that will justify “newly constructed” reservoirs.

Besides, Junior water rights owners have already created an underground reservoir that’s flooding out the upper end of the S. Platte river. What more do they want?

We demand our legislators first implement pre-existing Water Law before making any new laws.

Thank you,

Coloradans for Administration of Water in Prior Appropriation


Note from Senator Jerry Sonnenberg

This week I have to pleasure to present SB18-170 to the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy committee which passed out on a bi-partisan vote of 9-1.

As you know, water is Colorado's most valuable resource. The Northern Irrigated Supply Project (NISP) will store water for recreational, residential, and agricultural use. Many seem concerned about the environmental impacts this project may have, but what good is conversing water if there is no where to put it?

This bill establishes a water court process by which an owner of a water storage right allowing water to be stored in a newly constructed reservoir or an enlarged existing reservoir may comply with the mitigation measures identified in a mitigation plan by contracting with the board to dedicate to the board, pursuant to a water court decree, an amount of water for release into, and protection from diversion and use through, a qualifying stream reach to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the probable impacts that the newly constructed or expanded reservoir has on fish and wildlife resources.

Since this project has taken decades to launch, and decades of research, the urgency to get this project implemented is important to the water access to many Coloradans. We have waited too long and needs this storage, and the future of our state depends on this project.” Senator Jerry Sonnenberg



 Monday, March 5, 2018


Here's an example of Water Court being used to steal water.

A Resolution to reaffirm the process by which Colorado Water Rights are to be administered under the statutory laws of the State of Colorado.

Be it hereby resolved by this legislative body, the State of Colorado directs and requires State Water Engineers to administer, distribute and regulate the water of the state in a manner consistent with the rules of the Prior Appropriation system: *“First in time, first in right" or "Prior Appropriation” doctrine is based on *Priority Date and amount, aka *Allotment Quantity,” of both surface water and groundwater tributary to a surface stream.

There has been no law made that extinguished, “first in time, first in right.” Therefore, we wholly defer to C.R.S. 37-92-102 and hereby declare C.R.S. 37-92-102 stand as the policy of the state of Colorado that, in the determination of water rights, uses, and administration of water, the following principles shall apply:

The Legislator finds the language of this Statute to be clear and unambiguous.

This Resolution hereby orders the State Engineer shall apply the law as it is written.


C.R.S. 37-92-102 Legislative declaration basic tenets of   

Colorado Water Law

The Resolution

(2) Recognizing that previous and existing laws have given inadequate attention to the development and use of underground waters of the state, that the use of underground waters as an independent source or in conjunction with surface waters is necessary to the present and future welfare of the people of this state, and that the future welfare of the state depends upon a sound and flexible integrated use of all waters of the state, it is hereby declared to be the further policy of the state of Colorado that, in the determination of water rights, uses, and administration of water, the following principles shall apply:

· (a) Water rights and uses vested prior to June 7, 1969, in any person by virtue of previous or existing laws, including an appropriation from a well, shall be protected subject to the provisions of this article.

· (b) The existing use of groundwater, either independently or in conjunction with surface rights, shall be recognized to the fullest extent possible, subject to the preservation of other existing vested rights, but, at his own point of diversion on a natural watercourse, each diverter must establish some reasonable means of effectuating his diversion. He is not entitled to command the whole flow of the stream merely to facilitate his taking the fraction of the whole flow to which he is entitled.

· (c) The use of groundwater may be considered as an alternate or *supplemental source of supply for surface decrees entered prior to June 7, 1969, taking into consideration both previous usage and the necessity to protect the vested rights of others.

· (d) No reduction of any lawful diversion because of the operation of the priority system shall be permitted unless such reduction would increase the amount of water available to and required by water rights having senior priorities.”

*Supplemental  -well drilled prior to 1969 will have the same priority date as the original surface appropriation and can be used to supplement the surface allotment quantity only up to the adjudicated amount of the original surface appropriation. Any water pumped above the total original surface appropriation amount will only have a priority of the date upon which the well was drilled and put to beneficial use. This was the intent of the State legislature as expressed in this Statute.

*First in time, first in right. An appropriation is made when an individual physically takes water from a stream (or underground aquifer) and places that water to some type of beneficial use. The first person to appropriate water and apply that water to use has the first right to use that water within a particular stream system. This person (after receiving a court decree verifying their priority status) then becomes the senior water right holder on the stream, and that water right must be satisfied before any other water rights can be fulfilled.

*Priority date: “previous, existing, pre-existing, valid, vested and senior water rights.” and amount of surface and groundwater connected, not separate.

The appropriation date of a water right is the earliest date on which the applicant can demonstrate the initiation of the appropriation, and applies to surface and groundwater (conjunctive use) tributary to a surface stream. Surface water and groundwater are connected.

*Allotment Quantity: Assume three water-users exist on a stream system with adjudicated water rights totaling 5 cfs (cubic feet per second). The user with the earliest priority date has a decree for 2 cfs, the second priority has a decree for 2 cfs, and the third priority right has a decree for 1 cfs of water. When the stream is carrying 5 cfs of water or more, all of the rights on this stream can be fulfilled. However, if the stream is carrying only 3 cfs of water, its priority number 3 will not receive any water, with priority number 2 receiving only half of its 2 cfs right. Priority number 1 will receive its full amount of 2 cfs under this scenario.

This process of allocating water to various water users is traditionally referred to as "Water Rights Administration," and is the responsibility of the Division of Water Resources.

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