July 22, 2018

Colorado Supreme Court: Ground Water Replacement Plan Violated Anti-Speculation Doctrine where Proponents Could Not Prove Beneficial Use

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Front Range Resources, LLC v. Colorado Ground Water Commission on Monday, April 9, 2018.

Designated Ground Water—Anti-Speculation Doctrine—Attorney Fees.

The supreme court held that the anti-speculation doctrine applies to replacement plans involving new appropriations or changes of water rights of designated ground water. Here, a private company applied for a replacement plan involving designated ground water in an over-appropriated alluvial aquifer, to which defendants (parties believing the plan would impair their water rights) objected. Because the company could not demonstrate that it or another end-user would put the replacement-plan water to beneficial use, the court concluded that the company’s replacement plan violated the anti-speculation doctrine. It further concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendants attorney fees. The district court’s judgment was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.