Water Rights

Controlling water flowColorado’s limited water resources are allocated among competing demands through the State’s water right prior appropriation system. The system is based upon the principal of first in time, first in right. That is, the first, Senior user is entitled to use their water rights prior to subsequent, Junior users. To maintain a Senior priority a water right must be adjudicated with the Courts. Once adjudicated, a water right becomes a property right and can be sold and detached from the land. A water rights type of use, point of diversion and place of use can also be changed.

RESOURCE has extensive experience with Colorado Water Rights and has assisted hundreds of clients to appropriate or acquire water rights sufficient to provide a dependable supply for their needs. This may involve a complex strategy to acquire and transfer senior water rights to the proposed place of use. Alternatively, it may require development of a plan to mitigate, or offset, the impact of a client’s new water right. The mitigation procedures are implemented through a water right plan for augmentation. An augmentation plan allows a water user with a junior water right to divert out-of-priority since the resulting stream depletion is replaced with a reliable Senior source.

Water Right Engineering Services Provided by RESOURCE include:

  • Appropriation of new water rights to support identified needs
  • Assessment of water right injury and protection of client’s water rights
  • Engineering support for change of water rights including complex exchanges and plans for augmentation
  • Water right analyses defining the legal and physical availability of water supply
  • Expert testimony in the Water Court
  • Water right appraisals
  • Water right due diligence review