May 25, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Water Authority Can Use Junior Priority First but Must Live with Its Decision

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Concerning the Application for Water Rights of the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority in the Eagle River in Eagle County, Colorado: Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority v. Wolfe on Tuesday, May 31, 2016.

Actual Use of Water and Application to Beneficial Use—Nature and Extent of Rights Acquired.

The Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority filed an application to make absolute 0.47 cubic feet per second of its Eagle River Diversion Point No. 2 conditional water right. The State and Division Engineers opposed the application, asserting that the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority could not make its Eagle River Diversion Point No. 2 water right absolute when it owned another, more senior conditional water right, decreed for the same claimed beneficial uses at the same location and for diversion at the same point. The Supreme Court held that where there is no evidence of waste, hoarding, or other mischief, and no injury to the rights of other water users, the owner of a portfolio of water rights is entitled to select which of its different, in-priority conditional water rights it wishes to first divert and make absolute.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

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