The Pueblo Chieftain is urging lawmakers to pass HB1352 - Concerning an expansion of water judges's jurisdiction to address the effects of a water right adudication on water quaility. They write, "This bill is so balanced that it has gained major support of the Western Slope's biggest water organization. Chris Treese, director of external affairs for the Colorado River Water Conservation District, said last week, 'Yes, indeed, the River District voted unanimously to support the concept of Buffie McFadyen's bill and we look forward to its success ... We agree with her on the policy issue. Her bill seems to be a measured and appropriate step in the integration of water rights and water quality issues.'
"Others have expressed support for HB1352. They include Wally Stealey, president of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District; John Singletary, president of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District; Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Ark District; Loretta Kennedy, a Pueblo County commissioner and member of the Lower Ark District; and Alan Hamel, executive director of the Pueblo Board of Water Works.
"Colorado water law currently allows water court judges to consider water quality in exchange, or point-of-diversion, transfer cases. The law does not, however, take into consideration potentially injurious effects on the quality of water held by other water rights when the court hears the original change-of-use case.
"HB1352 simply gives owners of other water rights the opportunity to raise water quality issues in the original change-of-use case. It's a reasonable, fair and equitable extension of current law.
"The bill recognizes Colorado Water Quality Control Commission standards as the reasonable basis of measuring water quality. It also provides an exception for change-of-use applications involving small farm-to-farm or town-to-town water transactions."
Category: Colorado Water