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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

Do You Feel Well-Protected?

Jeffers Steve 011

Many  landowners and small businesses use wells that provide a vital water supply for their property.  Some wells are used for watering livestock, for drinking water inside homes, for irrigation of lawns and gardens, or for drinking and sanitary purposes inside a shop or other business.  People often take for granted their right to use their well, and don’t realize that use may be threatened.  Finding out you don’t have the proper permit or decree after your well goes dry from a nearby construction project, or after the state orders you to shut down the well, may be inconvenient, expensive, and difficult to fix. 

In Colorado, water rights outside the Designated Basins are administered based on “first in time is first in right”, with many of the first rights dating back to the 1860's.  In order to establish the priority of your water right and protect it from new uses, you must have a court decree.  No diversion is allowed from a well unless the owner also has a valid permit from the Division of Water Resources (DWR). If you own a small well that is important to your home or business, you should make sure you have a valid well permit and your use falls within the permit limits.  If you don’t have a well permit, or if your use is out of compliance, the State may shut down your well.  For questions about administration of wells or questions about your individual well permit, you can call DWR’s groundwater information desk.  However, before talking with them, you may want to consult with an experienced water attorney.

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Longmont, CO 80501
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