May 22, 2010--State ‘on other side’ in water rules case (Pueblo Cheiftain)

In nearly every Water Court case in the Arkansas River basin, the state Division of Water Resources finds itself in court. Usually, the state is an objector, attempting to make sure the water rights of other water users are not injured when a new application for how water is used is processed by the court. “Now we know how it feels to be on the other side,” Steve Witte, Water Division 2 engineer told the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District board Wednesday. The state is applying for rules to ensure that irrigation efficiency improvements do not increase consumptive use by irrigators. State Engineer Dick Wolfe and Witte conducted meetings with those who might be affected by the rules over a two-year period before filing the rules last year. The rules are also among the first large cases to test a new state court protocol to streamline water court cases, an effort also led by Wolfe that concluded last summer.

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