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State Supreme Court overturns water board recommendation in kayak course

Associated Press Writer

DENVER (AP) -- In a key ruling that should help settle a long-running
battle over recreational water use, the Colorado Supreme Court said
Monday that state officials exceeded their authority when they
recommended less water for a kayak course than the backers requested.

The ruling said the Colorado Water Conservation Board ignored state law
and its own rules in its recommendation for the whitewater course on the
Gunnison River.

The Supreme Court ordered Water Court Judge Steven Patrick to send the
case back to the state board for proper analysis.

The ruling is expected to help clarify a 2001 state law governing how
much of Colorado's scarce water can be used for the increasing numbers
of manufactured whitewater courses in the state.

The law requires the Water Conservation board to recommend to a state
water court judge how much water is required for a "reasonable
recreation experience" in the courses while protecting the rights of
users upstream.

The Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy had asked for a minimum of
270 cubic feet per second for the kayak course from May through
September, but the state water board recommendation only 250 cfs.

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There is a article about it in today's Denver post - 3/15
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