July 19, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Specific Water Exchanges Legally Indistinguishable from Reusable Transmountain Effluent

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Concerning the Application for Water Rights of the City & County of Denver on Monday, July 1, 2013.

Water Law—Transmountain Lawn Irrigation Return Flows—Appropriative Rights of Exchange—Injury.

The Supreme Court held that the City of Denver may use properly quantified as transmountain lawn irrigation return flows (LIRFs) as a substitute supply of water for its civil action (C.A.) 3635 exchanges. Properly quantified LIRFs are legally indistinguishable from reusable transmountain effluent. The Court also held that junior appropriators, such as the City of Englewood, cannot claim injury solely on account of Denver’s proper operation of the C.A. 3635 exchanges. Thus, the water court correctly decided Denver’s Motion for Determination of a Question of Law under CRCP 56(h).

Summary and full case available here.