Colorado HB17-1291: Alternate Storage Not Change if Already Quantified — @WaterLawReview

Barr Lake State Park photo via Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

From the University of Denver Water Law Review (Julia Bowman). Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

HB 17-1291, 71st Gen. Assemb., 1st Reg. Sess. (Colo. 2017) – (allowing water users to store water in a place of storage not listed on the decree if the historical consumptive use of the water right has been quantified in a previous change).

House Bill 1291 (HB 1291) has also been called the “Another Reservoir on the Ditch” bill. Co-sponsored by House Representatives J. Arndt, J. Becker, and Senator D. Coram, the bill was introduced to the House on March 24, 2017, and signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper on June 5, 2017. Without any lobbyists or other organizations involved in its preparation, the bill was recognized by legislators and the public alike as a “common-sense” piece of legislation. The bill allows water users to store previously quantified water in an alternate place of storage not listed on their decree without going through water court in certain circumstances.

The benefits of HB 1291 are only available to water users who want to store their decreed water in alternate storage on the same ditch or diversion system (including in nontributary aquifers). The water that qualifies under the bill is limited. It must be attributable to a water right that: (i) has gone through a judicially approved change; (ii) has been decreed for storage; and (iii) has a quantified historical consumptive use. Additionally, the water must be diverted at a point of diversion already decreed for that water right—it cannot be imported from another division—and any applicable transit and ditch losses must be assessed against the water right.

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