2013 Colorado legislation: Sen. Gail Schwartz plans to introduce a bill to grease the conservation skids for farmers


From The Aspen Daily News (Curtis Wackerle):

As the legislative session is about to kick off, state Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, has drought and renewable energy on her mind.

For her first bill of the 2013 session of the Colorado General Assembly, Schwartz will introduce legislation that would allow farmers to implement water-conservation measures without fear of endangering their water rights.

The bill, which would enact safeguards against the normal “use it or lose it” rules governing Colorado water rights, was defeated in a summer water committee, where a supermajority is required to move forward. But in the normal session, Schwartz, who is the chair of the Senate’s Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, would need just a majority to pass the bill. The idea, Schwartz said, is to protect farmers who choose to cut down on water use, since not taking the full allotment can expose water rights holders to abandonment claims.

“Given the drought circumstances, we need to do things differently,” said Schwartz, 63, who is halfway through her second and final term as a state senator.

More 2013 Colorado legislation coverage here.

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