Water Law Links

Colorado Water Courts

Water courts have exclusive jurisdiction over water rights and water-related matters in Colorado. There are seven water courts in Colorado, one in each of the major river basins of Arkansas, Colorado, Gunnison, Rio Grande, South Platte, San Juan, and White. Water courts have their own rules and are overseen by specialized Water Judges.

State Engineer

The Colorado State Engineer administers tributary, nontributary and not nontributary water wells, geothermal wells, and water rights within Colorado’s prior appropriation system. Administration includes issuance of all types of water well permits, determinations of nontributary water rights, approval of substitute water supply plans, reservoir permitting, and tabulation and enforcement of water rights in Colorado’s prior appropriation system.

Ground Water Commission

The Colorado Ground Water Commission has jurisdiction over ground water in the eight designated ground water basins, including the Lost Creek, the Kiowa Bijou, the Southern High Plains, the Northern High Plains, the Upper Black Squirrel, the Camp Creek, the Upper Big Sandy and the Upper Crow Creek Basins. The Commission has its own rules, and is responsible for permitting and administration of designated groundwater rights in the basins.

Water Quality Control Commission

The Water Quality Control Commission establishes water quality classifications and standards for Colorado’s surface and ground waters and implements regulations to achieve those standards, including administration of discharge permits. The Commission also establishes water quality standards for drinking water.