Title: Colorado Water Laws
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002247/00001
 Material Information
Title: Colorado Water Laws
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Colorado Outdoors
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Colorado Water Laws, March/April 1977
General Note: Box 10, Folder 12 ( SF Water Rights-Water Crop - 1973, 1976-77 ), Item 11
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00002247
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

be full of... plans for additiona" r
water, but no plans for the time when
no more water is to be had."
The-Concerned Citizens also con-
tend that Colorado's water laws are
outdated and immoral. Because of the
scarcity of water in the state, the con-
stitution contains the following phrase:
"The right to divert the unappropri-
ated waters of any natural stream to
beneficial use shall never be denied."
What this amounts to is the fact that
no free-running stream in Colorado
has a right to exist. Diversion has been
interpreted by the courts as taking
water from the stream bed. One can-
not claim a right to any water. if he
doesn't intend to divert it.
Secondly, beneficial use falls into
one of three categories -domestic,
agricultural or industrial. Recreation
is not considered beneficial and there-
fore gets no consideration when a
stream is being destroyed.
Another aspect of the law allows for
"condemnation of rights." This means
that higher priority users can take the
water rights from lower priority users,
with payment, no matter how old the
rights are.
Generally, the oldest rights are the
safest, thus the phrase, "first in time,
first in right." However, priority is set
in this order -domestic, agricultural
and industrial. So a municipality can
"condemn" the rights of a farmer and
take his water.
The city of Thornton is in the proc-
ess of doing just that right now. Agri-
cultural lands on the eastern plains are
suffering because cities need more
water. And Denver threatens to do
the same if water cannot be obtained
cheaply from the West Slope.
According to the Field Draft Feasi-
bility Report of the Bureau of Recla-
mation, "This stream fishery (the
South Platte) is highly productive,
while the reservoir would most likely

exhibit a low natural productivity due
to its shape. Habitat for endan-
gered species includes resident pere-
grine falcons and southern bald eagles,
which would be lost."
One of the major arguments of the
Concerned Citizens centers around the
quality of life. They see unlimited,
uncontrolled growth as a threat to a
way of life that is envied by many
people throughout the nation.
Denverites have been lucky to have
such a trout stream and recreation
area almost in their back yards. be-
spite Bureau of Reclamation promises
of increased recreation on a reservoir,
statistics seem to say otherwise.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- calls the construction of the reservoir
a "degradation." Steven Hart, in pre-
senting his objections to the project,
predicts for Denver "a Los Angeles-
type sprawl, with increasing problems
of smog, crowds, crime and the de-
terioration of the quality of life."
The use of a reservoir for munici-
pal water supply has usually meant
poor recreation facilities because the
constant flux of the water sometimes
creates mud flats around the edges.
Many people do not envision the
replacement of the stream fishermen
and tubers with motorboats as an im-
provement. And water contact sports
would probably be prohibited just as
they are at all city reservoirs.
One of the latest strategies by the
opponents of Two Forks may be an
attempt to have this area of the South
Platte declared a part of the nation's
system of Wild and Scenic Rivers. If
successful, this move could make im-
poundment of water nearly impossible
at Two Forks.
One Denver citizen expressed his
concern in a letter to the editor of
one of the city's newspapers. He said,
"this stretch of stream is tremendously
valuable as a recreation and scenic
area, not only for fishermen, but also
for hikers, picnickers, tubers and na-
ture lovers of all ages."

The Bureau of Reclamation
ered only two alternatives t
Forks with any seriousness. Th<
involved building large new dai
at Ferndale and one at Wes
Creek. The site for Two !Po
obvious advantages over these
However, the Bureau did n
sider seriously the alternative
sented by environmental groe
the Steering Committee (a 4
0 __ rtup whih wa ,nr-nmit H
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