June 25, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Application for a Conditional Appropriative Right of Exchange is a Conditional Water Right

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Concerning the Application for Water Rights of the City and County of Broomfield in Adams, Broomfield, Boulder and Weld Counties: Centennial Water and Sanitation District v. City and County of Broomfield on June 20, 2011.

The Supreme Court affirmed an order of the district court for Water Division No. 1, holding that an application for a conditional appropriative right of exchange is a conditional water right subject to the can-and-will test and the first-step requirement. The Court found that the City and County of Broomfield, as a government entity, need not own nor control all sources of substitute water supply at the time the decree is entered but must demonstrate that it has taken the first step toward acquiring the proposed sources and that it can and will acquire them. This analysis is to be applied source by source. The Court found that the water court properly concluded that Broomfield met its burden with regard to two of the eight proposed sources of substitute supply that it does not own or control. Accordingly, the water court’s decree was affirmed.

Summary and full case available here.

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