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Old 02-17-2006   #1
badkins's Avatar
Laramie, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1992
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bill may derail new kayak parks

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Old 02-17-2006   #2
Join Date: May 2005
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It may do more than that, if you read the text of the legislation, it seems to direct the water court to find against any water use that is not "consumptive"

Here's a link to the bill in its current form:

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Old 02-17-2006   #3
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Indian Hills, Colorado
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It may do more than that, if you read the text of the legislation, it seems to direct the water court to find against any water use that is not "consumptive"
I think you may have misunderstood the bill. RICD's are by nature a nonconsumptive use. The Colorado Water Conservation Board's biggest fear is the "Fruita RICD." Water Colorado is entitled to through interstate compacts currently leaves the State. That's why the "Big Straw" was being considered. If Fruita were to apply for an RICD for current Colorado River peak flows, this could preclude new uses of Colorado River water upstream of Fruita, even though the State is entitled to this water through interstate compacts.

The language regarding consumptive beneficial use is designed to protect Colorado's compact entitlements and prevent Fruita RICD's. I am not familair with compact entitlements on the Animas, but given Durango's proximity to the State line, this could represent a challenge for a Durango RICD right.

From the bill:
This issue is probably the primary force driving RICD legilsation. The 90% rule and kayker specific language in the bill is mostly the result of negotiations with legislators who don't want any RICD water rights allowed.
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Old 02-17-2006   #4
Join Date: May 2005
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That's precisely what I'm getting at, it appears that this bill is an attempt to re-write prior appropriation from "first beneficial use" to "first beneficial consumptive use"

I understand the desire to protect the interstate compacts but, if the water is being "used" by a recreational in-channel diversion, are we not still exercising our rights under the compact? It's not as though we are allowing our allotment to slip by unused and thereby allow another state to lay claim to that flow in the future. All that said, I'm not a water attorney, but I have to believe that there is a way to make recreational in-channel diversions compatible with existing compacts without eviscerating them. After all, prior appropriation was first employed for mining, a use that is by and large, not consumptive.
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Old 02-17-2006   #5
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Indian Hills, Colorado
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There's the heart of the debate: consumptive vs. non consumptive use. Interstate compacts only address consumptive use. In fact a non-consumptive use water right has very little value since (to be bloody honest) you can't change it to an irrigation right to water some damn golf course.

Your points are good ones. I hope through this discussion others can become more educated about Colorado water law and RICD rights.

The bill doesn't limit RICD rights so much because they are non-consumptive, but limits them because they could limit Colorado's abity to CONSUME all the water we are entitled to under the compact.

The consumptive clause in the act will probably only impact RICD applications near the State line, or where there is little downstream development before the State line and where the river is not heavily over appropriated (Fruita, Steamboat, Durango?) Folks up in the mountains like Vail, Gunnison, etc. will probably not be severly impacted by the clause.

Here's a way to look at it: say the government took all your savings at the end of the year even if you played with the money like Scrooge McDuck, but never spent it. That would encourage you to spend every dime that is rightfully yours by years end. The State's position on interstate compact water is much the same. The "end of the year" is the State line; better consume (spend) the water before then.

So far as mining rights, while they did form the origional framework of prior appropriation, heavily consumptive irrigation rights have been the most imporatant and heavily litigated water rights in the State.
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Old 03-02-2006   #6
Master of Chaos
Join Date: Apr 2004
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A solid, pro RICD opinion article in the Vail Trail on March 1st.

SB 37 is truly a dangerous piece of legislation that will impair our efforts to keep water in the river for recreation and the environment. All of us, who recognize the benefits of instream water should be working to derail SB 37.

Check it:

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ark, kayaking

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