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A Sketch of the Colorado Water Court Systems and the Utilization of Water Records in Colorado

Jill E. Croft, Natural Resources for Legal Assistants and Land Support Personnel (1979)


The Water Right Determination and Administration Act of 1969, CRS 1973 37-92-101 et seq., established seven water divisions within the State's boundaries for the purposes of water rights administration. The boundaries of these water divisions essentially conform to the major drainage basins within Colorado and are delineated in CRS 1973 37-92-201. Roughly they are as follows: Division No. 1, the South Platte River; Division No. 2, the Arkansas River; Division No. 3, the Rio Grande River and water flowing into the San Luis Valley; Division No. 4, the Gunnison and San Miguel Rivers and that part of the Dolares River north of the township line of T45N, N.M.P.M.; Division No. 5, the Colorado River; Division No. 6, the White, Yampa and Green Rivers and Division No. 7, the southern portion of the Dolores and the San Juan River. See the appendix for a map of the divisions.

The 1969 Act went on to establish the office of division engineer and the position of water judge for each of the seven water divisions.1 The division engineers are appointed by the state engineer with the approval of the director of the department of natural resources. Each division engineer has a staff and an office located in towns designated by the statute. The water judges are appointed by the Supreme Court which makes its selection from among the judges of the district courts of the counties with