The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) and BootJack Ranch water court case update

Bootjack Ranch. Photo credit: Mountain Workshop

From The Pagosa Sun (Chris Mannara):

Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) and BootJack Ranch are in water court regarding various opposition of diligence claims.

At the Jan. 16 regular meeting of the PAWSD Board of Directors, PAWSD District Manager Justin Ramsey explained that BootJack Ranch, in 2018, started opposing PAWSD’s diligence on its water rights…

Ramsey later explained that, in one instance, BootJack had requested that PAWSD no longer take water from Four Mile if the river levels dropped below a certain percentage during certain months.

“I said that’s an absolutely ridiculous request. We turn our water off three weeks out of every month. It’s idiotic,” he said.

On Aug. 2, 2018, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) placed a call on the San Juan River, which Ramsey explained correlated to BootJack’s earlier requests on PAWSD not taking water from Four Mile.

“Those numbers, they did corresponded with that. I think BootJack figures we quit turning the water on, and the water would get to the San Juan, CWCB wouldn’t do their call and they wouldn’t lose their water,” Ramsey explained. “So they wanted us to augment their water rights is what that was for.”

According to Ramsey, BootJack Ranch is going after PAWSD’s diligence claims…

What PAWSD has decided to do is oppose all of BootJack’s water rights issues, Ramsey noted…

Ramsey noted that there will be a meeting with BootJack to see if the two entities can just “leave each other alone.”


Ramsey explained that PAWSD went to the water court previously and explained that it needs 20 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Four Mile, which the court agreed to.

“Now it’s called a non-perfected right. We don’t use that 20 cfs at this point. Our plan is to use it in the future,” he explained.

According to Ramsey, the rea- son BootJack has filed this claim opposition relates to water from Four Mile that goes into the San Juan River.

“The CWCB has an instream water right. The CWCB is the only entity in the state that’s allowed to have an in-stream water right. That goes from I think the 1st Street bridge in Pagosa down to McCabe Creek,” Ramsey explained. “If the water level drops, then they can do a call. That’s what they did last year.”

That call affected BootJack, Ramsey noted…

There has never been a time since PAWSD has had the Four Mile water right that it has been able to pull water in the summer, he explained, adding that PAWSD loses that ability in the first part or middle of May.

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