Water Law

May 7, 2011--Water rights central to water deals (Pueblo Chieftain)

Keeping water in streams and rivers was a major goal for Colorado River negotiators in reaching a settlement with Denver Water. “The recreational flows through Glenwood Canyon are important,” said Eric Kuhn, executive director of the Colorado River Conservation District.

May 6, 2011--Sharing is not always easy when it comes to water (Grand Junction Sentinel)

It’s not every year that western Colorado has the luxury to procrastinate with irrigation. Maybe in April, but by May it’s almost unheard of. But here we are, almost a month into irrigation season with a snowpack that just won’t quit, plentiful soil moisture and rumors that flooding might be a real concern if temperatures rise too quickly.

May 2, 2011--Court sides with Wyo. in water dispute with Mont. (Denver Post)

The U.S. Supreme Court sided with Wyoming farmers Monday in a water lawsuit that claimed they were taking too much water from a river system shared with neighboring Montana. The high court struck down one of four claims made by Montana in a 2007 complaint that said Wyoming was violating a 1950 agreement by depleting water from the Tongue and Powder rivers.

Hydropower Bill Signed

In March, Governor Hickenlooper signed a bill into law that opens the door to more hydroelectric power generation operations in the state. Under HB1083, the Public Utilities Commission can authorize hydro projects and allow rates to be adjusted to recover the costs of the projects, similar to other renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Concessions to environmental groups worried about the impact on aquatic life and others who were concerned about its impact on downstream water users paved the way for the bill’s popularity.

Legislative Update (by Bruce Whitehead)

Bruce Whitehead, Executive Director of the Southwestern Water Conservation District, as well as the District’s representative to the Colorado Water Congress State Affairs Committee, provides weekly legislative updates to interested parties in Southwest Colorado. The following provides the most recent State Affairs Committee meeting from April 11th:

April 20, 2011--Senate acts on beer, water, merger (Durango Herald)

With no debate, senators passed a bill to strengthen the state’s case against lawsuits over the water used by gas and oil wells. House Bill 1286 tells the courts to give deference to state water regulators, who adopted maps last year to show when gas and oil wells need to be given greater scrutiny to make sure they don’t injure the water rights of nearby landowners.

April 14, 2011--Gas industry taking water, one law at a time (Durango Herald)

State House Bill 1286, co-sponsored by Rep. J. Paul Brown, R-Ignacio, is the latest attempt by the oil and gas industry to change the basic rules of Colorado water law. The bill was introduced in mid-March, and passed through the House like a greased pig. It now moves to the Senate. It is a short bill and has received little attention.

April 14, 2011--Roundtable backs water law study (Pueblo Chieftain)

A study to determine if state law helps or hinders new strategies to share water was approved Wednesday by the Arkansas Basin Roundtable. The study would help projects like the Arkansas Valley Super Ditch, or any effort that would allow farmers to retain water rights yet lease water, to determine what limitations could work against the concept, and what laws might help implementation.

April 3, 2011--Bill on historic water structures gains momentum (Fort Morgan Times)

Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, this week has quickly marshaled through a bill that would require consent of users of historic water structures when the state historical society wants to place the structure on an historic register.

April 1, 2011--Senate panel could vote on hydropower, energy efficiency measures soon (New York Times)

A trio of hydropower bills and a measure on energy efficiency standards may be some of the first legislation the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee takes up this year. Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said earlier this week that he is planning to hold a legislative markup before the Senate breaks for its spring recess in two weeks and another before the Memorial Day recess in May.

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