Water Law

2016 Legislative Updates

Listed below are the legislative updates from the Colorado Water Congress State Affairs meetings. The Board of the Southwestern Water Conservation District provides this as a service to those interested in water related legislation during the current session.  We hope that you find the updates beneficial.
 
Bruce Whitehead
Executive Director


Helping Good Samaritans Clean Up Abandoned Hardrock Mines

For years Colorado legislatures have been trying to pass laws that would make it easier for groups to clean up toxic pollution from abandoned mines. These groups, which are not responsible for the pollution but want to clean it up anyway, are called, appropriately enough, Good Samaritans.


August 10, 2016--Law lets Coloradans collect, use rainwater (Grand Junction Sentinel)

Vicki Felmlee is happy that the law has finally caught up with her. Like a lot of Coloradans, the longtime Grand Junction resident has been breaking the law for years by using rain barrels to collect water from her rooftop. That all changed Wednesday when Colorado became the last state in the nation to legalize them. “I haven’t been known for armed robbery, bribery or


July 23, 2016--Year Round Gardening: Rain barrels soon legal in Colorado (Gazette)

With the approach of legal use of rainwater collection on August 10th, Colorado residents are asking a lot of questions. Before you try reading the actual legislation, we’ll cover some of the basics. New laws allow for the collection and storage of rainwater for use on the property from which it is collected.


July 15, 2016--House measure 
would protect 
rights to water (Grand Junction Sentinel)

A measure by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., that would protect state-issued water rights against federal taking is included in an appropriations measure now headed to the Senate. Passage of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017, H.R.


July 3, 2016--Vail Daily column: Use it or lose it? (Vail Daily)

The “use it or lose it” feature of Colorado water law is often blamed for discouraging farmers and ranchers from taking efficiency and conservation measures that could benefit the environment or ease the supply and demand imbalance on the Colorado River.


June 3, 2016--Colorado water law doesn't discourage efficiency (Post Independent)

The “use it or lose it” feature of Colorado water law is often blamed for discouraging farmers and ranchers from taking efficiency and conservation measures that could benefit the environment or ease the supply/demand imbalance on the Colorado River.


May 7, 2016--“Prior appropriation is a doctrine of scarcity” — Greg Hobbs (Pueblo Chieftain)

If there was a message, it was: Water is everything and it starts here. Retired Colorado Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs held the Arkansas River Basin Water Forum captive for about an hour with a mix of photos that ranged from historic images to family photo albums and a collection of historic maps, which he once owned but has donated to the Supreme Court. His narrative wove a tale o


April 14, 2016--Homeowner rain barrel bill ready for signature (Montrose Press)

Colorado is a signature away from specifically allowing — with a few limitations — homeowners to collect precipitation into rain barrels. House Bill 1005 passed third reading in the Colorado Senate on April 1, permitting “small-capacity rooftop collection.” Under it, people will be able to collect up to 110 gallons of rainfall, in no more than two barrels, from


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