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Bill Detail: HB20-1157

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Title Loaned Water For Instream Flows To Improve Environment
Status Senate Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources Refer Unamended to Senate Committee of the Whole (02/27/2020)
Bill Subjects
  • Water
House Sponsors D. Roberts (D)
P. Will (R)
Senate Sponsors K. Donovan (D)
House Committee Rural Affairs and Agriculture
Senate Committee Agriculture and Natural Resources
Date Introduced 01/17/2020
Description

Under current law, the Colorado water conservation board (board),
subject to procedural requirements established to prevent injury to water
rights and decreed conditional water rights, may use loaned water for

instream flows if the loaned water is used for preserving the natural
environment of a stream reach that is subject to a decreed instream flow
water right held by the board. The bill expands the number of years within
a 10-year period that a renewable loan may be exercised from 3 years to
5 years, but for no more than 3 consecutive years, and allows a loan to be
renewed for up to 2 additional 10-year periods. The bill limits the
duration that an expedited loan may be exercised for up to one year, and
prohibits an applicant from seeking additional expedited loans regarding
a water right following an approved expedited loan of that water right.
The bill also expands the board's ability to use loaned water for
instream flows to improve the natural environment to a reasonable degree
pursuant to a decreed instream flow water right held by the board.
In considering whether to accept a proposed loan, the board must
evaluate the proposed loan based on biological and scientific evidence
presented, including a biological analysis performed by the division of
parks and wildlife.
The state engineer will review a proposed loan and must consider
any comments filed by parties notified of the application in determining
whether the loaned water will not cause injury to other vested or
conditionally decreed water rights. The filing fee is increased from $100
to $300.
The board is required to promulgate rules regarding the necessary
steps for reviewing and accepting a loan for instream flow use to improve
the natural environment to a reasonable degree.
The state engineer's decision to approve or deny a proposed loan
may be appealed to a water judge, who is required to hear and determine
the matter on an expedited basis using the procedures and standards
established for matters rereferred to the water judge by a water referee.

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