Local ground water management districts protect the underground water rights of farmers and other residents of rural Colorado. House Bill 1337, now under consideration at the State Capitol, will ensure that water speculators cannot play deceptive games in court in order to exhaust the limited legal budgets of these districts.
HB 1337 will clarify a recent court decision which found that state law was unclear regarding whether new evidence could be introduced when decisions of the Ground Water Commission are appealed in district court. Essentially, the court said that entirely new evidence can be presented in court – evidence that was never considered by the commission or local ground water district.
HB 1337 is an easy fix. It simply requires parties in contested applications to present all their evidence at the administrative hearing level. This is in line with how things are done in Water Court where the applicants must prove they are not injuring existing water rights and show all their evidence at that time. HB 1337 ensures applicants only get one bite of the apple and aren’t able to put on multiple cases on the same contested application in order to run up the costs to the detriment of our communities, farms and towns.
Because of our roots in rural Colorado and in agriculture, we wanted to be sure your readers are aware of this important legislation. We urge you to call or email Senate President Bill Cadman to thank him for his leadership and let him know that this bill is important to rural Colorado. While you’re at it, thank Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (Sterling) and Sen. Larry Crowder (Alamosa) for their leadership in protecting Colorado agriculture.
The future of eastern Colorado is in their hands!
Former Colorado State Senators and Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee