CWCB Drought and Water Supply Assessment

Chapter Five

Statutory Framework for Drought Management in Colorado
Jim Lochhead and Avra Morgan


This chapter focuses on statutory and other legal tools available in Colorado for coping with drought. The chapter begins with a narrative discussion of how the focus of Colorado water law on the protection of private property rights shapes opportunities for dealing with drought. Following is a listing of legal tools applicable to water supply and drought management in Colorado under federal, state, and local laws. Examples of materials covered in the chapter include local restrictions on residential irrigation; state statutory tools, such as augmentation plans and instream flows; and federally authorized programs for financial and technical assistance relating to drought. The chapter also discusses examples of voluntary measures taken by major water users in Colorado developed in cooperative efforts within the framework of Colorado water law to ameliorate the effects of drought on other water users and on the environment.

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Table of Contents | Introduction | Acknowledgements | Executive Summary
Section One Chapters 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
Section Two Chapters 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17
Appendices A | B | C | List of Acronyms | Maps | Glossary

CWCB_logoColorado Water Conservation Board


“The water of every natural stream, not heretofore appropriated, within the state of Colorado, is hereby declared to be the property of the public, and the same is dedicated to the use of the people of the state, subject to appropriation as hereinafter provided.”

Colorado Constitution



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Prepared by:
Bouvette Consulting
Resolution Research &
Marketing, Inc.