SB14-023: Transfer Water Efficiency Savings To Instream Use

Colorado instream flow program map via the Colorado Water Conservation Board
Colorado instream flow program map via the Colorado Water Conservation Board

Click here to read the bill in its present form.

From the Colorado Water Congress website:

Section 1 of the bill defines “water efficiency savings” as that portion of a water right used solely for agricultural irrigation or stock watering purposes in water division 4, 5, 6, or 7 that is nonconsumptive under existing practices and that results from efficiency measures, determined as the difference between:

* The lesser of the decreed diversion amount and the maximum amount that had been historically diverted using the existing facilities for a beneficial use under reasonably efficient practices to accomplish without waste the purpose for which the appropriation was lawfully made; and

* The diverted amount needed to meet the decreed beneficial use after increased efficiency in the means of diversion, conveyance, storage, application, or use.

Section 2 allows water efficiency savings to be changed or loaned, pursuant to existing water court and water loan statutes, only to the Colorado water conservation board, only for instream use, and only if:

* The application was filed within 2 years after the diversions were decreased due to efficiency measures;

* The change or loan will not materially injure decreed water rights; and

* The change or loan will not adversely affect Colorado’s interstate compact entitlements or obligations. The change decree or loan approval must identify the amount of water efficiency savings and the stream reaches within which water efficiency savings, as changed or loaned, will be used. Water efficiency savings that have been changed or loaned are not subject to abandonment. The parties who enter into a change or loan of water efficiency savings may provide conditions by which the original decreed diversion rate may be preserved for a future use by the water right owner who implements the efficiency measures if use of the efficiency measures is discontinued.

01/08/2014 Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy

More 2014 Colorado legislation coverage here.

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