Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

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Here's an opinion piece from today's Denver Post dealing with potential changes to Colorado water law. Chuck Howe, professor emeritus of economics and a faculty research associate at the Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado-Boulder, writes, "Several steps could help in overcoming these problems without major modifications in water law.

"First, the names of water rights owners could be recorded so that prospective buyers would know whom to contact. Secondly, prices of transactions should be made public so that 'going prices' can be easily determined.

"Third, the review process for proposed transfers could be simplified by tossing out the 'beneficial use' doctrine. When the West was first settled, the threat of monopolization of streamflows by early claimants to water may have been a threat, justifying the need to demonstrate beneficial use as a condition of a water right. But now, with all significant streams being fully appropriated and with the increasing attractiveness of smoothly functioning water markets, the doctrine may have outlived its utility. Avoiding injury to other water users could be reviewed by the state engineer, but the need to demonstrate a beneficial use could be avoided, freeing informed investors to anticipate future needs.

"Finally, the establishment of 'water banks' in each of the major basins as authorized by 2003 legislation would facilitate both short-term leasing and permanent rights transfers. Water banks can take several forms, from maintaining a bulletin board for the posting of offers to buy, lease and sell to 'interruptible supply contracts' by which farmers are paid over longer time periods to let cities take part of their water during droughts. Water bank activity has been increasing rapidly throughout the western U.S. and should be encouraged in Colorado."

Category: Colorado Water

8:03:58 AM    

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Here's a report from the United Nations World Water Forum from the AP via They write, "Farms and their wasteful irrigation systems are a major contributor to water scarcity on the globe, nations at a world water summit said Saturday. Farming accounts for 70 percent of the water consumed and most of its wasteful use, said representatives of 130 nations at the World Water Forum discussing water management. One-fifth of the world's population lacks safe drinking water, the United Nations said in a report last week that laid much of the blame on mismanagement of resources."

Category: Colorado Water

7:20:11 AM    

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