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Public Lands

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Colorado's public lands are faced with new challenges but water and land management depend on working together. Read about the relationship between water and land in Colorado and how Coloradans are converging to restore Colorado's public lands in the Spring 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine.

Browse articles and find a flipbook of the magazine here.

Connecting the Drops

connectingdropslogo4.1Bringing you the reporting you crave over the radio airways with extras and archives on our website. Visit the audio archives or listen to the latest story on the connection between Colorado's forests, watersheds, and forest fires:

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Water Education Colorado

2005 Legislative Update

The 2005 session of the Colorado General Assembly produced 10 water bills that became law, 12 that did not pass, and 1 vetoed by the Governor. Highlights of the new laws include creation of water roundtables throughout the state, and payment to Kansas of the full amount owed by Colorado in the Kansas v. Colorado Arkansas River Compact case.

The newly enacted legislation includes:

House Bill 05-1039: Agricultural water right owners may now lend their rights to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for instream flow purposes, without the necessity of a Governor-declared drought emergency. These loans are limited to 120 days per year and may not be exercised more than 3 years in a 10-year period.

House Bill 05-1156: After January 1, 2006, clerks of water courts may post the monthly resumes of applications online on the water court's Web site, instead of mailing them. A person can obtain a paper copy of the resume by paying the required fee. Referee rulings may be sent by regular or electronic mail, rather than certified or registered mail.

House Bill 05-1177: Establishes the ‘Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act’ which:

  • Creates an Interbasin Compact Committee whose 27 members are chosen from the state's major river basins, with some appointments made by the Governor. Their task is to negotiate interbasin compacts regarding use of Colorado's water resources. Committee membership shall include individuals with expertise in environmental, recreational, local governmental, industrial, and agricultural matters;
  • Requires the Committee to adopt an Interbasin Compact Charter to govern and guide negotiations between basin roundtables:
  • Provides for Governor appointment of the Director of Compact Negotiations;
  • Creates permanent basin roundtables in each of eight basins and the Denver metro area. Using the ongoing statewide water supply initiative data and other appropriate information, each roundtable will develop a basin-wide consumptive and non-consumptive water supply needs assessment, an analysis of available unappropriated water, and propose structural and nonstructural projects and methods for meeting the basin's water supply needs;
  • Preserves Colorado's prior appropriation system, water rights created under that system, and contract rights.

House Bill 05-1254: Provides short-term grants to promote water conservation programs among large utilities. Grant funds come from a transfer of $1.5 million from the Severance Tax Trust Fund, and will be available to large water providers as distributed by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The grant program will expire July 1, 2008.

Senate Bill 05-011: Authorizes Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to administer water pollution control revolving funds for publicly owned treatment works and nonpoint source management projects that are on the project priority list adopted by the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission.

Senate Bill 05-045: Empowers water districts, water and sanitation districts, and water conservancy districts that own reservoirs to provide park and recreation improvements and services, if not already provided by another group. If the districts adopt a resolution to provide the improvements and services, no other entity can provide them without consent of the districts. Allows districts to use revenues and charge fees for these purposes.

Senate Bill 05-84: Authorizes Colorado Water Conservation Board financing that includes:

  • $20.2 million in loans for the Central Colorado Water Conservancy Well Augmentation Subdistrict to purchase water rights and construct water storage to augment supplies from depleted wells;
  • $1.5 million for the South Platte Decision Support System;
  • $500,000 to continue the Statewide Water Supply Initiative; and
  • $50,000 to support the newly-formed Republican River Water Conservation District in undertaking projects and studies vital to compact compliance and sustenance of water resources within that Basin.

Senate Bill 05-133: Provides that the statutory presumption of abandonment of a water right after 10 years of non-use, does not include periods where the water right was used in a federal land conservation program or an approved water conservation, land fallowing, or water banking program.

Senate Bill 05-161: Eliminates the requirement that private drillers and pump installers pass a state exam in order to drill a well on their own property for their own use.

Senate Bill 05-226: Provides for payment in full of $34.8 million to the State of Kansas as required by United States Supreme Court in the Kansas v. Colorado Arkansas River Compact case. ❑

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