2020 #COleg: Legislative Round-Up: Bills That Passed Colorado’s 2020 Legislative Session — Lexology

From Lexology (Allison P. Altaras):

Water

HB 20-1095 Concerning the authority of local government master plans to include water conservation policies. This bill requires a local government master plan containing a water supply element to also include water conservation polices, which will be determined by the local government. These policies can include goals specified in the Colorado Water Plan; policies can also condition development approvals for subdivisions, planned unit developments, special use permits, and zoning changes on the implementation of water conservation goals and other Colorado Water Plan goals. Additionally, the Department of Local Affairs is authorized to hire a full-time employee to provide educational resources and assistance to local governments that include water conservation policies in their master plans.

SB 20-155 Concerning keeping the presumption of noninjury for a well on divided land. This bill maintains the rebuttable presumption that domestic use of a well exempt from the state engineer’s administration will not cause material injury to others’ vested water rights or to any other existing wells in the event the land on which the well is located is later divided into multiple parcels, provided that well use meets certain requirements.

SB 20-048 Concerning a study to consider the strengthening of the prohibition on speculative appropriations of water. Current law prohibits speculative water appropriation. Speculation may be evidenced where an applicant does not have (i) a legally vested interest or a reasonable expectation of procuring a legally vested interest in the lands or facilities to be served by the appropriation, unless the appropriator is a governmental agency or an agent for those proposed to benefit from the appropriation; or (ii) a specific plan and intent to divert, store, or otherwise capture, possess, and control a specific quantity of water for specific beneficial uses. This bill requires the executive director of the Department of Natural Resources to convene a work group to explore methods for strengthening current anti-speculation law. This group will report any recommended changes to the Water Resources Review Committee in August 2021.

Himes Creek. Photo credit: Colorado Water Conservation Board

2020 #COleg: Legislative Round-Up: Bills That Passed Colorado’s 2020 Legislative Session — Lexology