State Legislature Provides Flexibility to Agricultural Water Users in Water Divisions 4, 5 & 6


In May 2013, the Colorado State Legislature created a tool to provide flexibility to agricultural water users in Water Divisions 4, 5 and 6 through Senate Bill 2013-019. Previously, water rights owners who voluntarily fallowed their fields would have faced penalties for non-use. This new law gave “safe harbor” to water right owners in those three water divisions by directing the Water Judge to not consider that year’s lower use data when determining the historical consumptive use for the water right. With the conservation disincentive removed, owners now have another mechanism to help restore flows in their backyard. Although not specifically an environmental program, under the right circumstances, a water user can work with the Water Trust to sustain and restore streamflows during lower flow conditions and rely on this new tool. Read the enacting legislation.

Senate Bill 2013-019