Republican River Rules filed in water court
The Office of the State Engineer has filed the proposed Republican River Compact Water Use Rules with Water Court Division 1 in Greeley.
The filing was made last Friday, January 11.
The process for developing the rules included several public meetings with a special advisory committee. It was comprised of volunteers representing users and interests throughout the Republican River Basin. The meetings took place within the basin, and the last one was last August.
As drafted, the rules allow the state to administer surface water and groundwater wells for compliance with the 1942 Republican River Compact.
It includes the state engineer’s ability to curtail wells, which means issuing a cease and desist.
However, Deb Daniel, the general manager for the Republican River Water Conservation District, noted that wells that are within the Republican River Domain and have an augmentation plan are protected from curtailment.
That means all wells located with the Republican River Water Conservation District are protected, due to the district’s augmentation efforts such as the compact compliance pipeline, purchasing surface water rights, and providing financial incentives for well owners to voluntarily retire their wells, such as through CREP and EQIP conservation programs.
However, the Republican River Domain boundary is different than the RRWCD boundary, so there are some wells that currently are not protected from the potential curtailment. There is legislation currently before the Colorado State Legislature that will expand the RRWCD’s boundary to including all of the Republican River Domain.
Division 1 Water Court will have to rule on the proposed rules before they go into effect.
Well owners can make filings for or against the proposed rules with the water court. The case number is 2019CW 3002.
One can learn more about the rules at the Colorado Division of Water Resources website, water.state.co.us.