Conservation Corner: Colorado Water Rights Abandonment List

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As a Colorado water right holder, have you reviewed the Colorado Division of Water Resources’ (DWR) abandonment list?  It is now available.

Every 10 years, the DWR presents a list of water rights that the Division Engineer believes to have been “abandoned” to the water court. An abandoned right is the “termination of an absolute water right in whole or in part as a result of the intent of the owner to discontinue permanently the use of all or part of the available water” (CO-DWR). Non-use of a water right, partial or full, can be construed as an abandonment.  If listed as abandoned, rights can be lost. However, water right holders can object. 

Important dates and objection deadlines:

• July 1, 2020, the Division Engineer published a preliminary list.  Time to meet with Division Engineer if you think there is a mistake. 

• July 1, 2021 is the deadline to file an objection with the Division Engineer. 

• December 31, 2021, the deadline for the Engineer to revise the preliminary list and file it in water court. 

• June 30, 2022, the deadline to protest an abandonment in the water court. 

• July 1, 2022, water court enters abandonment decrees for all rights not protested. 

Affected water right holders can expect letters soon and the list is published in the newspaper during July (see PAGE B4).  However, if you are a water right holder you are encouraged to review the full abandonment list by scanning or clicking the Zapcode below or visiting http://water.state.co.us/DWRDocs/Reports/Pages/Abandonment.aspx.

Protest must be filed before July 1, 2021.  An abandonment objection form is also available on that same website.  For questions regarding abandonment list on the White River, contact William Summers at 970-846-4455, william.summers@state.co.us.