By Ralf Topper
HB 17-1076 is currently making its way through the legislative process having passed the House and the Senate. This legislation, concerning rulemaking for artificial recharge of nontributary aquifers, opens the door for opportunities to implement aquifer storage and recovery programs in nontributary aquifers outside of the Denver Basin. Nontributary groundwater, as defined in Colorado Revised Statute 37-90-103 (10.5), is groundwater whose connection to any surface stream is so insignificant that it is considered isolated from the surface water for water rights administration purposes.
HB 17-1076 is a first step in creating some administrative certainty and legal framework for districts in other parts of the state to consider implementing aquifer recharge and recovery projects to meet their water management objectives, and should be endorsed by the water community. The bill’s use of the term “artificial recharge” is unfortunate, as the use of that term is dated in…
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