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82B26E4212AE299687258A280063F3E5 Hearing Summary


Date Sep 12, 2023      
Location SCR 357

Impacts of Conservation on Water Rights - Committee Discussion Only

12:11:46 PM  
Kevin Rein, State
Engineer, introduced himself and his presentation.  He discussed the
Anti-Speculation Doctrine and how it relates to the abandonment of water
rights. He told the committee about existing protections around abandonment
that are present in Colorado water law.  
12:13:10 PM  

Mr. Rein answered questions about the process of abandoning of water rights.  

12:32:23 PM  
Mr. Rein continued
to answer questions about the abandonment of water rights as it relates
to conservation practices.
12:38:51 PM  

John Cyran, Western Resource Advocates, introduced himself and informed the committee he would be available for questions.

12:40:59 PM  
Richard Van Gytenbeek,
Trout Unlimited, introduced himself and told the committee about the limited
existing protections against abandoning water rights. He discussed the
existing state law that allows for water conservation without abandoning
water rights.
12:48:57 PM  

Kate Ryan, Colorado Water Trust, introduced herself and told the committee about her organization's role in promoting water conservation across the state.  She discussed consumptive use and obstacles associated with shifting water to different beneficial uses.  

12:54:43 PM  
Mr. Cyran told the committee about the existing conservation efforts that exist in the different water divisions across the state. He discussed possible new conservation efforts that could be done in the state to aide water right holders.
01:00:03 PM  
The panelists answered
questions about the concerns of water right holders regarding the possibility
of losing water rights if they make an effort to conserve water.
01:13:13 PM  

Ashley House, Colorado Farm Bureau, spoke about the recent Arizona legislation that has been brought on the topic. She told the committee that this idea could benefit or not benefit individual water rights holders and suggested that any program to be voluntary, temporary, and compensated.

01:18:06 PM  
Jim Yahn, North Sterling Irrigation District, introduced himself and discussed the variety of aspects that go into water right abandonment and conservation efforts. He spoke about historical consumptive use and non-consumptive use.
01:26:47 PM  
The panelists answered questions about return flows and impacts on downstream users or junior water right holders, how conservation impacts consumptive use, and the need for flexibility in a conservation type program that could be created.

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details