Conservation Corner: Protecting your water rights

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The adage, “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting” helps us to all understand just how important water and water rights are in an arid climate like ours.  If you own a water right, you may wonder how you can learn what records the State has regarding your water right.  Do they have your point of diversion recorded accurately, is your water usage recorded accurately, is my water right on the abandonment list or just what information do they have on my water right?

One resource to aid in gathering this information is a recent how-to video recorded by local Water Commissioner – Shanna Lewis. This video offers a brief glimpse into the Colorado Division of Water Resources’ (DWR) new website and the Colorado Decision Support System (CDSS) website. It shows how to search for your specific water right, diversion structure, and other information tied to your water right. The video is available on the Conservation District’s website (visit  under the “water” tab. There is also a “Structures Quick Guidance” document available on the site with step by step instructions on how to access the CDSS.

Reminder: as the growing season winds down, it is critical to submit your actual water usage reports to your local water commissioner, Shanna Lewis, as soon as possible.  For your convenience, a standard reporting form is listed on the District’s website, also under the “Water” tab and on the DWR’s website.  Water usage reports should be submitted no later than November 15th every year. 

For questions on water rights and usage, contact your local Water Commissioner – Shanna Lewis, at or 970-439-8008.