First Regular Session
Sixty-first General Assembly
LLS NO. 970476.01 PLC
HOUSE BILL 971286
STATE OF COLORADO
BY REPRESENTATIVE Smith
& NATURAL RESOURCES
A BILL FOR AN ACT
CONCERNING MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR THE APPROPRIATION
OF WATER FOR REMOVAL FROM ONE NATURAL RIVER BASIN TO LOCATIONS
OUTSIDE SUCH BASINS.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced
and does not necessarily reflect any amendments which may be subsequently
Requires a person seeking a decree from a water court,
when the decree is to allow the removal of water from one natural
river basin to another, to include in their request for that decree
a plan to protect water users in the basin of origin from any
reduction in ability to beneficially use or increase the cost
of using water in that basin.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. Part 3 of article 92 of title 37, Colorado Revised Statutes, 1990 Repl. Vol., as amended, is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read:
3792308. Legislative declaration appropriation basin of origin. (1) THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY HEREBY FINDS AND DECLARES THAT:
(a) THE REMOVAL OF WATERS OF THIS STATE FROM ONE NATURAL RIVER BASIN TO ANOTHER MAY POSE SPECIAL PROBLEMS FOR THE WATER USERS IN THE EXPORTING BASIN;
(b) NUMEROUS AREAS OF THE STATE ARE AFFECTED, OR MAY BE AFFECTED, BY SUCH REMOVAL AND TRANSPORT OF WATER AND SUCH REMOVAL IS THEREFORE A MATTER OF STATEWIDE CONCERN;
(c) THERE IS A NEED TO ASSURE THAT WATER USERS IN THE NATURAL RIVER BASIN FROM WHICH WATER IS, OR IS PROPOSED TO BE, REMOVED ARE NOT DEPRIVED OF THE ABILITY TO BENEFICIALLY USE WATER AS A RESULT OF THE REMOVAL OF WATER FROM THE BASIN; AND
(d) THE CONCEPT AND PRACTICE OF SUCH PROTECTIONS HAVE WORKED FOR THE PAST SIXTY YEARS FOR CONSERVANCY DISTRICTS THAT HAVE REMOVED WATER FROM THE COLORADO RIVER BASIN, AND SUCH PROTECTIONS SHOULD BE APPLIED TO ALL APPROPRIATORS STATEWIDE.
(2) AS USED IN THIS SECTION, UNLESS THE CONTEXT OTHERWISE REQUIRES:
(a) "APPLICANT" MEANS ANY PERSON, INCLUDING A PUBLIC OR PRIVATE CORPORATION OR GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY, SEEKING A DECREE FROM A DISTRICT COURT HAVING JURISDICTION OVER WATER MATTERS AS DEFINED IN COLORADO LAW FOR:
(I) A WATER RIGHT OR CONDITIONAL WATER RIGHT, INCLUDING A DETERMINATION THAT A CONDITIONAL WATER RIGHT HAS BECOME A WATER RIGHT BY REASON OF THE COMPLETION OF THE APPROPRIATION;
(II) A CHANGE OF WATER RIGHT;
(III) AN APPROVAL OF A PLAN FOR AUGMENTATION;
(IV) A FINDING OF REASONABLE DILIGENCE; OR
(V) APPROVAL OF A PROPOSED OR EXISTING EXCHANGE OF WATER UNDER SECTION 3780120 OR 3783104.
(b) "NATURAL RIVER BASIN" MEANS THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA WITHIN THE STATE OF COLORADO WITHIN WHICH WATERS OF THE STATE NATURALLY DRAIN TO, OR ARE TRIBUTARY TO, THE ARKANSAS, COLORADO, RIO GRANDE, SOUTH PLATTE, OR NORTH PLATTE RIVERS. ANY CLOSED BASIN WHOLLY CONTAINED WITHIN THE WATER DIVISION OF SUCH AREA SHALL BE CONSIDERED WITHIN THAT BASIN.
(3) ANY APPLICANT WITH WORKS OR FACILITIES PLANNED AND DESIGNED FOR THE EXPORTATION OF SUCH WATER, INCLUDING GROUNDWATER THAT IS TRIBUTARY TO A NATURAL SURFACE STREAM, FROM A NATURAL BASIN IN COLORADO SHALL DESIGN, CONSTRUCT, AND OPERATE SUCH WORKS OR FACILITIES IN SUCH A MANNER THAT THE EXISTING APPROPRIATIONS AND PROSPECTIVE BENEFICIAL USES OF WATER, INCLUDING INSTREAM FLOWS APPROPRIATED BY THE COLORADO WATER CONSERVATION BOARD IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 3792102, WITHIN THE NATURAL BASIN FROM WHICH THE WATER IS OR PLANS TO BE REMOVED, WILL NEITHER BE IMPAIRED NOR INCREASED IN COST AT THE EXPENSE OF THE WATER USERS WITHIN THE NATURAL RIVER BASIN. THE WORKS OR FACILITIES, IF ANY, AND ANY OTHER MEANS FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF SAID PURPOSES SHALL BE INCORPORATED IN AND MADE A PART OF THE DECREE.
SECTION 2. Effective date. This act shall take effect July 1, 1997.
SECTION 3. Safety clause. The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.