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Bd. of Cty. Comm’rs v. Park Cty. Sportsmen’s Ranch, Ltd. Liab. P’ship - 45 P.3d 693 (Colo. 2002)

Rule:

All water in Colorado is a public resource and allows holders of water rights decrees the right of passage for their appropriated water through and within the natural surface and subsurface water-bearing formations.

Facts:

The landowners and a sportsmen's club owned property in South Park, Colorado, a high mountain valley approximately 75 miles southwest of Denver. The sportsmen's club filed with the water court an application for a conditional water rights decree and plan for augmentation and exchange involving extraction from and recharge of water into the South Park formation for augmentation, storage, and beneficial use. The South Park formation was a natural geological structure containing aquifers. Landowners brought a declaratory judgment action inserting the resolution of property issue as a prerequisite determination to the merits of the conditional decree application.

Issue:

Does the proposed project include the location of any articifical features on or in the landowners’ property?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The judgment was affirmed. The reviewing court agreed the applicant was required to establish that it has or can obtain the right to use land as a prerequisite to obtaining a conditional decree. However, the proposed project did not include the location of any artificial features on or in the landowners' properties.

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