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Water Law

Headwaters Winter 2004

Headwaters magazineRead articles below or view the online issue online issue to flip through or download the entire magazine.

Watermarks--Letter from the Editor

Negotiating a New Era for the Colorado River

The Foundation has devoted this winter edition of Headwaters to the Colorado River Basin, touching on the policy, people, and economies that rely upon and shape the water resources of this productive watershed.

Read more: Watermarks--Letter from the Editor

Peace on the Colorado River?

Two new lawsuits charge vital economic and environmental impacts ignored

IMPERIAL VALLEY, CA — Less than a month after the Quantitative Settlement Agreement was signed, the deal has already been hit with two lawsuits.

Read more: Peace on the Colorado River?

Feasibility Study Released for ‘Big Straw’ Project

DENVER, CO — In late November 2003, the results of the Colorado River Return Reconnaissance Study (CRRRS) were released at a Colorado Water Conservation Board meeting.

Read more: Feasibility Study Released for ‘Big Straw’ Project

Instream Gravel Mine Donated For River Park

HOTCHKISS, CO — Described by some locals as an ‘invisible resource,’ public access to the North Fork of the Gunnison River between the towns of Paonia and Hotchkiss has been non-existent to date. That is all about to change.

Read more: Instream Gravel Mine Donated For River Park

A Chronology of the ‘Law of the River’

1922 Colorado River Compact
Divided the Colorado River, 50-50 between the upper basin (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming) and the lower basin states (Arizona, California, and Nevada). An additional 1 million acre-feet of tributary water is allowed to the lower basin.
On a ten-year running average, the compact guarantees 75 million acre-feet of water to the lower basin, delivered at Lee Ferry, Arizona. Theoretically, the upper basin was also to receive 7.5 million acre-feet annually. However, due to the lower basin delivery guarantee, in times of shortage, the upper basin may have less water available to it.

Read more: A Chronology of the ‘Law of the River’

Upper Colorado River Tour June 23-25

The Colorado River turns into a classroom June 23-25 when the Colorado Foundation for Water Education presents its first Upper Colorado River Tour.

Read more: Upper Colorado River Tour June 23-25

California's New Colorado River Diet

By Jim Lochhead

Legal requirements to reduce California's use of the Colorado River put pressure on urban and rural water agencies to come up with a solution. Quantifying the amount of water consumed by their main water agencies such as the Imperial Irrigation District (right) and the Coachella Valley Water District (which serves the Palm Springs area above) was one of California's first steps in figuring out how to stay within their Colorado River allotment.Their recent agreement represents the largest transfer of water from agricultural to municipal use in U.S. history, and denotes a new era for the Colorado River.

Read more: California's New Colorado River Diet

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Water Law Resources

Guide to Colorado Water Law explores the basics of Colorado water law--learn how it has developed and how it is applied today. This, WEco's most popular Citizen's Guide, was authored by Colorado Supreme Court Justice, and WEco Board Vice President, Gregory Hobbs. Take a look or purchase a copy.


Law Supplement Headwaters magazine a special edition of Headwaters that provides an in-depth look at Colorado water law. Browse the magazine to supplement our Citizen's Guide and your knowledge. View it here

Administration Headwaters magazine read how enforcing the law in our water-scarce state can get tricky and meet the men and women who allocate Colorado's most precious resource. Browse the issue here.

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