COLORADO REVISED STATUTES – TITLE 37. WATER & IRRIGATION
BELOW ARE A FEW OF THE COLORADO LAWS SPECIFIC TO IRRIGATION DITCHES SUCH AS THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN AND WANNAMAKER DITCHES, AS WELL AS A LINK TO LEXISNEXIS THE OFFICIAL PUBLISHER OF THE COLORADO REVISED STATUTES
- DITCH RIGHT-OF-WAY
- Like many irrigation companies within Colorado, the easements across public and private lands were gained not by deed or fee ownership, but rather by the actual use of the lands for transport of the water to its place of beneficial use. This type of easement is referred to as a “prescriptive easement”.
- ARTICLE XVI, SECTION 7 OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION states that all persons and corporations shall have the right-of-way across public, private and corporate lands for the construction of ditches, canals and flumes for the purpose of conveying water for domestic purposes, for the irrigation of agricultural lands, and for mining and manufacturing purposes, and for drainage, upon payment of just compensation.”
- C.R.S. 37-86-102. RIGHT-OF-WAY THROUGH OTHER LANDS. – Any person owning a water right or conditional water right shall be entitled to a right of way through the lands which lie between the point of diversion and point of use or proposed use for the purpose of transporting water for beneficial use in accordance with said water right or conditional water right”
- DITCH CONSTRUCTION/MAINTENANCE
- C.R.S. 37-84-101. MAINTENANCE OF EMBANKMENTS AND TAIL DITCH. - The owners of any ditch for irrigation or other purposes shall carefully maintain the embankments thereof so that the waters of such ditch may not flood or damage the premises of others, and shall make a tail ditch so as to return the water in such ditch with as little waste as possible into the stream from which it was taken.
- C.R.S. 37-84-119. DITCHES TO BE KEPT IN REPAIR. The owners, or persons in control, of any canal or ditch used for irrigating purposes shall maintain the same in good order and repair, ready to receive water by April 1 in each year, so far as can be accomplished by the exercise of reasonable care and diligence, and shall construct the necessary outlets in the banks of the canal or ditch for a proper delivery of the water to persons having paid-up shares or who have rights to the use of water. A multiplicity of outlets in the canal or ditch shall at all times be avoided, so far as the same shall be reasonably practicable, and the location of the same shall be under the control of and shall be at the most convenient and practicable points consistent with the protection and safety of the ditch for the distribution of water among the various claimants thereof; and such location shall be under the control of a superintendent
- DITCH CONSUMERS/USERS
- C.R.S. 37-84-125. RECEIPT OF TOO MUCH WATER. – It is the duty of every such person taking water from any ditch, canal or reservoir, to be used for irrigation purposes, on finding that he is receiving more water from such ditch, canal, or reservoir, either through his headgate o by means of leaks, or by any means whatsoever, immediately to take steps to prevent his further receiving more water from such ditch, canal, or reservoir that the amount to which he is entitled. If knowingly he permits such extra water to come upon his land from such ditch, canal, or reservoir, and does not immediately notify the owners of such ditch or take steps to prevent its further flowing upon his land, he shall be liable to any person, company, or corporation who may be injured by such extra appropriation of water, for the actual damage sustained by the party aggrieved. The damages shall be adjudged to be paid together with the costs of suit, and a reasonable attorney’s fee to be fixed by the court and taxed with the costs.
- C.R.S. 37-86-112. Water to be prorated among consumers. If at any time any ditch or reservoir from which water is drawn for irrigation shall not be entitled to a full supply of water from the natural stream which supplies the same, the water actually received into and carried by such ditch, or held in such reservoir, shall be divided among all the consumers of water from such ditch or reservoir, as well as the owners, shareholders, or stockholders thereof, as the parties purchasing water therefrom and parties taking water partly under and by virtue of holding shares and partly by purchasing the same to each his share pro rata, according to the amount he is then entitled, so that all owners and purchasers shall suffer from the deficiency arising from the cause aforesaid each in proportion to the amount of water which he should have received in case no such deficiency of water had occurred.
- LITTERING ALONG DITCH
- CRIMINAL CODE 18-4-511 LITTERING OF PUBLIC OR PRIVATE PROPERTY. (1) Any person who deposits, throws, or leaves any litter (all rubbish, waste material, refuse, garbage, trash, debris, or other foreign substances, solid or liquid, of every form, size, kind and description) on any public or private property or in any waters commits littering.
Click here to learn more on the Colorado revised statuses for ditches from LEXISNEXIS.