Implementation of 2009 Water Bills
WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE
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2:00 PM -- The Meeting was Called to Order
Representative Curry, Vice-Chair, called the meeting to order and welcomed Senator Bruce Whitehead who was recently appointed to replace Senator Jim Isgar on the Water Resources Review Committee. Committee members received copies of the meeting agenda (Attachment A).
2:02 PM -- Implementation of Senate Bill 09-80 and House Bill 09-1129 Concerning Precipitation Harvesting
Mike Sullivan, Deputy State Engineer, explained the bills that passed in 2009 that affect the Division of Water Resources. Senate Bill 09-80 allows the collection of precipitation from roofs of residences that are not connected to a domestic water system for more than three single family dwellings. Mr. Sullivan explained that as a result of this bill, the State Engineer's Office made changes to the exempt well permit form. Individuals who have an existing permitted well or unexpired well permit and intend to use a system of rooftop precipitation capture must complete the form available at www.water.state.co.us/.
HB 09-1129 authorizes a pilot program for the collection of precipitation from rooftops for nonpotable uses. The purpose of the program is to determine how much precipitation returns to the natural stream system and develop a baseline set of data and methods to measure local precipitation patterns, native plant consumption, and ground water flow information. The program will also involve evaluating precipitation harvesting designs and determine how to prevent injury to water rights. Mr. Sullivan explained that the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and the Division of Water Resources are developing guidelines to evaluate pilot project applications and are developing criteria to determine how to assess impacts to stream systems. He explained that after two years, program participants will be required to obtain water court approved augmentation plan.
Veva Deheza, CWCB Section Chief, responded to questions about the application process for the pilot project. She explained that the program is paid for by application fees. She also explained that the CWCB has formed a stakeholder group to consider draft guidelines, which are estimated to be issued in September. She indicated that final guidelines will be approved by the Colorado Water Conservation Board in November and that the first application will be accepted by January 2010.
2:10 PM -- Implementation of House Bill 09-1303 Concerning Administration of Mineral Development Water Wells
Mike Sullivan discussed a Supreme Court decision that upheld a water court decision that water produced from coalbed methane wells is a beneficial use of water and therefore subject to regulation by the state (Vance v. Simpson). House Bill 09-1303 authorizes the Division of Water Resources to promulgate rules regarding the withdrawal of nontributary ground water related to the mining of minerals (e.g. oil and gas wells). The bill delays when current prohibitions on the waste of water or the destruction of water resources apply to oil and gas wells until March 31, 2010, to allow for rule promulgation and to determine which existing oil and gas wells will be classified as nontributary. Mr. Sullivan estimated that draft rules will be issued in one month. The rules will guide determinations of whether wells will be classified as tributary or nontributary. He also responded to questions about rulemaking process. He indicated that the division has filed a rulemaking notice with the Secretary of State and that it is estimated that 34,000 wells may be affected by the new legislation. He also spoke about the possibility of litigation.
Representative Curry stated the intent of House Bill 09-1302 was to streamline the permit review process and not to require adjudication of all coalbed methane wells.