i_wrrc_2016a_2016-08-16t09:59:09z2 Hearing Summary
Value and Measure of A Water Right
WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE
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10:21 AM -- Value and Measure of A Water Right
Dr. Reagan Waskom, Director, Colorado Water Institute (CWI), discussed efforts to help irrigators to increase water use efficiency. He explained that some water users have expressed concern about reducing diversions for conservation or efficiency purposes and the effect it may have on their water rights. To help address these concerns, the CWI published a report entitled: "How Diversion and Beneficial Use of Water Affect the Value and Measure of a Water Right. Is “Use It or Lose It” an Absolute?" (Attachment B).
Kevin Rein Deputy State Engineer, Division of Water Resources, discussed Colorado water law and the requirement to beneficially use water to maintain a water right. He explained that under Colorado's water law, "duty of water" is the amount of water that needs to be diverted to accomplish a beneficial use without waste. He explained how water rights are retained and how water rights are subject to loss for conditional water rights, administering an absolute water right, abandoning a water right, changing a water right, and applying intentional conservation to a water right or applying water to an undecreed use (Attachment C). He also discussed the impact of diverting more water than can be used beneficially on other water users and the environment. He responded to questions from the committee about the impact of diverting more water than can be used beneficially, the amount of water that may be transferred to other water uses under Colorado water law, and other issues.
Dr. Waskom responded to questions about the use of diversion records to quantify water rights and the effect of reduced diversion on other water users. He also discussed factors leading to increased use of sprinklers for agricultural irrigation, such as reduced labor costs, and the effect of such changes in irrigation practices on stream flows.