From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):
He takes over for Judge Pattie Swift, who will become water judge in October following Kuenhold’s retirement.
The water referee investigates and rules upon applications for new water rights, changes in water rights and findings of diligence for conditional water rights. Unless protests to those decisions arise, the water judge then issues a decree based on the referee’s ruling.
More Rio Grande River basin coverage here.