From the Summit Daily News (Elise Reuter):
Local developer Gary Miller donated a total of 1.833 cubic-feet-per-second (cfs) in water rights to the town, the rough equivalent of 13.71 gallons per second, or 1,185,000 gallons per day.
Sawmill Gulch is diverted from Willow Creek, within the Eagles Nest Wilderness, Linfield said. The diversion, appropriated in 1918, was originally intended for irrigation.
“I’ve owned this water for a long time,” Miller said. “I think the town of Silverthorne has done such a great job. I thought, ‘I’ve got the water; they’ve got a lot of people moving into the town.’ I thought the best thing for me to do was to give it to them.”
Though the town has not assessed the value of the water rights, the fact that they are dated before the Colorado River Compact adds inherent value. An agreement formed in 1922 among seven U.S. states in the Colorado River Basin, the Colorado River Compact allocates water rights between the states.
“Water with earlier dates is not subject to that compact and the rules related to water use within the Colorado River Basin, including the Blue River Basin,” Linfield said.
Since the water remains untapped, the town would put in the necessary infrastructure once an appropriate use is determined.
“The town of Silverthorne has millions of dollars invested in our water rights portfolio and we work diligently to manage and maintain those rights,” Linfield said. “While we feel our water portfolio is strong, we are always looking for ways to improve and protect this valuable resource.”