2006 RICD Bill - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-12-2006   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 52
2006 RICD Bill

For those who are interested, the current Colorado bill concerning recreational in channel diversions is SB-06-037. To see the bill, go to www.leg.state.co.us
Click on Senate Bills and then on bill 37.
Stay Tuned!

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Old 01-12-2006   #2
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,085
Having done a ton of research on the whole RICD debate and Colorado Water Law, I felt that I understood almost everything in the proposal. This one doesn't seem nearly as bad as a lot of Isgar's previous stuff.

Basically it says that the CWCB will evaluate the benefits before granting water rights for RICD use. They already do this anyway, so it's really not that big of a change. I feel that the legislation is unnecessary for exactly this reason. Colorado water laws already protect people's minimum need for water through the law regarding domestic priority. In addition, all the jabber in the bill about potential RICD water rights not detracting from previous claims is superfluous. This is already in the Colorado Constitution in the "First in Time, First in Right" clause.

There were only a few new things that I noticed in the bill. First, they define a "diversion" as having to be professionally engineered. Though I don't know of any, this would affect the rights for any spots created by makeshift or impromptu construction. Also, they define recreational use as only being kayaking. Now don't get me wrong, I do realize that kayakers are better than everyone else; but discounting the forms of recreation like flyfishing, rafting, swimming, tubing...coughcough...etc. could make it more difficult for our local playspots to obtain water rights.

I didn't quite understand the whole part about one half of one percent of the water (pg.5 ll.6-9)---so if anyone can explain this, it would be greatly appreciated.

COUNT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2006   #3
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 820
what you are referring to is the de minimis provision regarding injury from subsequent appropriations. Basically, if a subsequent appropriation injured the RICD but takes less that one half of one percent of the stream, it is not considered substantial enough to be an injury. Its not a good provision but its not particularly important.

The most important part of the bill is on p.6. It says that the state engineer shall not administer the RICD decree unless 90% of the decree amount is present. This is an attempt to get appropriators to ask for only the amount that they expect will be there (not a whole lot more like Golden). This, however, assumes that RICD holders will actually be calling. Because they are very junior, RICDs are valuable mainly for junior protection (which is referred to in the de minimis provision). The scope of this protection is not entirely clear but the recent Central City case seems to imply that RICDs will get junior protection.

hope this isn't too confusing.

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Old 01-13-2006   #4
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Thanks. That makes sense now.

COUNT is offline   Reply With Quote

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