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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

Aurora Purchase of Northern Colorado Water

shutterstock 1361275976Recently, the City of Aurora entered into a contract to purchase 119 shares in the Whitney Irrigation Company from BCI Waterco, LLC, an affiliate of the Broe Companies. Some are concerned that this purchase signals a renewal of water raids from the Denver metro area into northern Colorado water supplies. However, the Denver metro area water needs are on a scale that water providers want to purchase and assemble large blocks of water.

It is not efficient or economical for metropolitan water providers to purchase small amounts of water and then transport that water to the south. Economies of scale discourage such patchwork purchases where options to make a single purchase of a larger quantity of water exist. The Aurora purchase is for shares with an already quantified historic consumptive use of 1,629 acre feet for a purchase price of more than twenty-six million dollars. The shares historically irrigated approximately 1,100 acres.

Small purchases are unrealistic to meet the growing Denver metro area needs. There are not many large blocks of water available for purchase by Denver metro water providers. This purchase does not necessarily represent a trend, but rather Denver metro water providers securing water for current needs and future growth.

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