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Colorado water rights question  RSS feed

 
Gabi Rivera
Posts: 6
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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We are moving back to Colorado Springs and want to buy a small acreage (5 acres) in the Falcon/Peyton area. We will need to have a well dug. However, I heard that having a household well does not allow for irrigation. Is there anybody familiar with this issue? How do you establish a garden and food forest under the local restrictions?
 
Will Meginley
Posts: 115
Location: Concord, New Hampshire
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food preservation forest garden hunting tiny house trees woodworking
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You may find this document a worthwhile read.

Apparently, if the property qualifies for a "small capacity well" permit (page 11) or an "exempt well" permit (page 12), then you can irrigate up to one acre of land. Also, the rainwater collection section (page 14) lists some conditions when rainwater harvesting is permissible.
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 715
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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Gabi Rivera wrote:We are moving back to Colorado Springs and want to buy a small acreage (5 acres) in the Falcon/Peyton area. We will need to have a well dug. However, I heard that having a household well does not allow for irrigation. Is there anybody familiar with this issue? How do you establish a garden and food forest under the local restrictions?


the water rights are dependent on the well permit you are about to get.


Household-Use Only Well : Issued for ordinary household use for a single-family dwelling and does not allow for outside or livestock watering.

Domestic and Livestock Well : For land tracts of more than 35 acres where the well will be the only well on the tract or on land tracts less than 35 acres in locations where the well use will have minimal impact on surface water rights. Depending on the provisions of the permit, the well may be able to serve up to three single-family dwellings, irrigate one acre or less of lawn and garden, and provide water for the permit holder’s domestic animals and livestock.

taken from this website:
http://www.watercolorado.com/resources/articles/article4.shtml

depending on how much farming you want to do, you may need to go further east or maybe a bit south/south west.
we are on city water, but have irrigation rights - and are close enough to commute into COS for work.


hope this helps.
 
Dan Kline
Posts: 15
Location: Virginia, USA
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My cousin ranches NW Colorado. He is so upset about water laws that he made this post on his Facebook page a while back.
"When it rains, if I open my mouth in the downpour and swallow, that rain is mine. If I use a cup to catch it I have broken the law!" He cannot put in any kind of water diversion or containment, make contours in the field or put up snow fences to catch water.
The absurdity is that powers that be have concluded that the people in California need Western Colorado water more than the people there. One high country rancher I talked to said his grandfather and father had always diverted the stream that ran through his land to grow alfalfa. When the grandson did this he was sued and fined by the water authorities. He has had to cut his 1200 head of cattle to 500 because now he cannot grow hay to feed through the winter.
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 715
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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Dan Kline wrote:My cousin ranches NW Colorado. He is so upset about water laws that he made this post on his Facebook page a while back.
"When it rains, if I open my mouth in the downpour and swallow, that rain is mine. If I use a cup to catch it I have broken the law!" He cannot put in any kind of water diversion or containment, make contours in the field or put up snow fences to catch water.

i have said the same sorts of things -
in CO the water that falls from the sky isnt yours ... unless it damages your property, then its yours. funny how that works.

you can add swales and other earthworks, you just have to name them to conform to NCRS terminology.
funny how one slice of govt says you cant do it, the other will help you do..... if you call it something slightly different.

Dan Kline wrote:
The absurdity is that powers that be have concluded that the people in California need Western Colorado water more than the people there. One high country rancher I talked to said his grandfather and father had always diverted the stream that ran through his land to grow alfalfa. When the grandson did this he was sued and fined by the water authorities. He has had to cut his 1200 head of cattle to 500 because now he cannot grow hay to feed through the winter.

i would guess that person was diverting a stream that he didnt own the rights to. had i been a downstream water rights holder, i would want him to stop also. it is in effect, stealing.

i do think that water should be able to be captured - so long as it isnt sold and is used onsite.

there is a saying on the western slope - whiskey is for drinking - water is for fighting over.
 
Dan Kline
Posts: 15
Location: Virginia, USA
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The rancher's grandfather was the homesteader. He was the first to live in the area when it was settled in north east Moffat County high on Black Mountain. I have worked the hay crop there in the 1960's. Many mountain meadows had been irrigated to product hay crops. This hay was trucked to a lower elevation ranch site where the cattle wintered. No other humans lived upstream, but the creek flowed down into the Fortification Creek, that came to the Yampa River that came to the Green, that dumped into the Colorado and went on to the Gulf of California. The ranch I was born on and grew up at is in that same watershed. My grandfather homesteaded there and his grandsons now own and battle the government to try to make a living.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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