Water Rights


Water Rights
River, ponds, streams, wells and ditches – The Elk River ranch has abundant sources of water and water rights. With an ever increasing demand for water, but a shrinking supply that is usable, the ownership of water rights can be a very valuable commodity.

Colorado Water Rights
Many people may not be familiar with the water rights system in Colorado. Water on your property may belong to someone else! A “riparian” system means that a water right transfers automatically with the transfer of the land and no separate legal description is necessary for the transfer. This is not the system here in Colorado.

A water right is considered real estate. With the exception of a lease not exceeding one year, a right must be transferred by operation of law or by deed or conveyance in writing. If a deed does not expressly include the water rights, the question of their transfer depends on the intent of the grantor, which must be gathered from all the circumstances. A deed should always expressly mention water rights which the parties intend shall pass with the land.

There is no prorating of priorities. A senior water owner has the right to every bit of the water before the next in priority owner. A senior water owner has the right to “call” the water and shut off junior users until his right is satisfied. There is no requirement to prorate water.

The establishment of a water right by the diversion and beneficial use of surface or ground water is appropriation. Adjudication establishes the priority of the appropriation.

Key Terms
A “household use only” well supplies one house only and allows for absolutely no outdoor use.

An Acre foot is the amount of water that will cover 1 acre to a depth of 1 foot (325,851 gallons)

The term c.f.s is short for Cubic Foot per Second. One c.f.s. is equal to 7.48 gallons of water per second flowing past a given point, or 449 gallons per minute.

A good rule of thumb is 1 c.f.s. per 35 or 40 acres.

The Value of Water Rights will vary depending on location, but will come down to several factors including, but not limited to, the availability of water in the area, the source of the water, how accessible the water is, and the type of water rights offered.

This is a general overview of water rights and the Colorado water rights system. The Elk River Ranch has abundant and very valuable water rights. Please call us for more details and specifications.