This is a big deal for you water nuts out there. According to the Rocky Mountain News, two private companies that bought up water from the Arkansas River in southeastern Colorado suffered a setback yesterday when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled their plans to resell the water were too ambiguous [September 13, 2005, "High court against shifting water from farms to cities"]. From the article, "In upholding an earlier water court decision, the Supreme Court told High Plains A&M and its partners they would have to be more specific about who would be purchasing the water and how it would be used. The court said such details are needed to comply with Colorado's anti-speculation doctrine and to ensure that other water owners would not be harmed...
"Curtis said Colorado courts have previously applied the anti-speculation doctrine only in cases where new water rights are being established, not in cases where an existing water rights' use is being changed.
"Under Colorado law, water can be bought and sold, but all transactions must be evaluated in special water courts. There, those who might have concerns about a transaction can weigh in to make sure their own water rights won't be harmed by the change in ownership and in this case, the change in use from agricultural to municipal.
"In legal filings, High Plains had said water from the Fort Lyons Canal could be used in 28 counties along the Front Range and that the company had held "conversations" with at least 14 entities interested in purchasing it. But the company did not specify a buyer.
"Curtis said his clients and their partners control up to 120,000 acre-feet of water in the canal, or about one-third of its supplies. According to the urban rule of thumb, that's enough water to serve about 240,000 homes.
"The historic 150-mile canal irrigates about 93,000 acres of farmland in southeastern Colorado."
Category: Colorado Water