BILL SUMMARY for HB16-1228
SENATE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES, & ENERGY
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02:12 PM -- HB 16-1228
Senator Sonnenberg and Senator Donovan, co-prime sponsors, discussed the provision of House Bill 16-1228 concerning agriculture protection water right transfer mechanisms. The reengrossed bill allows the owner of an absolute decreed irrigation water right used for agricultural purposes to apply in water court to change the use of the water right to an agricultural water protection water right which is created by this bill. An agricultural water protection water right allows for the lease, loan, or trade of up to 50 percent of the water subject to the water right without designating the beneficial use to which the water will be applied. The bill requires the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop minimum criteria and guidelines for the establishment of an Agricultural Water Protection Program. The State Engineer in the DNR is required to develop rules governing the review of a substitute water supply plan for agricultural water protection water rights and for making the information about the plans accessible to the public. The bill also subjects agricultural water protection water right to specified conditions
The following persons testified on the bill:
02:12 PM -- Donna Brosemer, City of Greeley, spoke in opposition to the bill.
02:16 PM -- Dick Brown, Colorado Water Congress, Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, spoke in support of the bill and responded to questions from the committee about the bill.
02:23 PM -- Julie McKenna, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, spoke in support of the bill.
02:25 PM -- Chris Treese, Colorado River Water Conservation District, Southwestern Water Conservation District, spoke in opposition to the bill. He also proposed a conceptual amendment to exempt the West Slope from the bill and to create a pilot program for agriculture protection water right transfer mechanisms.
02:33 PM -- Terry Fankhauser, Colorado Cattleman's Association, spoke about the bill and identified concerns he has about it. He explained that his organization is neutral on the bill but supports alternative transfer mechanisms.
02:37 PM -- Greg Kernohan, Ducks Unlimited, spoke in support of the bill.
02:44 PM -- Becky Brooks, Colorado Corn Growers Association, spoke in support of the bill and distributed a letter for support for the bill from Mark Sponsler, President of the Colorado Corn Growers Association (Attachment F).
02:46 PM -- Tom Browning, Colorado Water Conservation Board, discussed the potential benefit of the bill on buy and dry. He also explained that CWCB is neutral on the bill.
02:48 PM -- Kevin Rein, Deputy State Engineer, Division of Water Resources, responded to questions from the committee about the bill.
The chair closed testimony and Senator Sonnenberg and Senator Donovan closed their remarks on the bill.
The committee adjourned.