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.

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

March 30, 2016--Rain-barrel exemption headed to governor to become law (Cortez Journal)

A bill that makes it clear that household rain barrels are legal in Colorado is on the way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. The measure, which allows up to two rain barrels with a combined capacity of 110 gallons per household, is to take effect on Aug. 10. Gov.

March 20, 2016--Is rainwater just a drop in the bucket? (Denver Post)

Rain barrels are in the news again in Colorado, the only state in the U.S. where collection of rainwater is illegal. House Bill 1005, now before the Senate, is an attempt to change that.

March 7, 2016--Former Colorado state Sen. Jim Isgar dies at 64 (Durango Herald)

Standing on his deep roots in La Plata County, former state Sen. Jim Isgar may have made his largest mark on the state’s agricultural community. Two months shy of his 65th birthday, he died in Denver on Friday after a 4½-year battle against a rare form of leukemia. Isgar had a background in water before he was appointed to the Senate in 2001 to finish the term of former Sen.

March 2, 2016--Storm clears on Colorado rain-barrel bill (Durango Herald)

The Colorado House on Tuesday gave overwhelming bipartisan approval to a bill that would allow Coloradans to collect rain water that falls on their roofs. The House passed the bill 61-3. The “no” votes came from Republican Reps.

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