The State Engineer has initiated the process to develop rules and regulations for water diversion, use, and administration for compact purposes within the Republican River Compact Groundwater Model Domain as approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in Kansas v. Nebraska & Colorado, Number 126, Original. The rulemaking will consider the requirement to offset impacts in excess of Colorado’s apportionment under the Republican River Compact as determined under the Final Settlement Stipulation, and work to ensure that all users of waters accounted for in Colorado’s Republican River Compact Accounting have a stake in ensuring ongoing compact compliance.
As part of this rulemaking process, the State Engineer has formed a Special Advisory Committee to seek advice and recommendations on the rules and regulations under consideration. This committee, comprised of volunteers representing users and interests throughout the Republican River Basin, will be asked to attend monthly meetings in the basin hosted by the State Engineer, and will work with the State Engineer, in an advisory capacity, on draft rules and regulations. These meetings will be open to the public and will include presentations related to the rulemaking followed by general discussion and work/review of draft rules.
The Compact Use Rules rulemaking and associated monthly Advisory Committee meetings will be temporarily put on hold while the State Engineer works to address concerns raised over jurisdictional issues within the Rules; specifically, the statutory authority under which non-compliance issues should be enforced. There are concerns that these Rules integrate surface water and groundwater administration enforcement, making the distinction of enforcement authority of designated basin wells and surface water under one or the other unclear.
To provide certainty and clarity, the State Engineer and his staff will work to develop legislation that will distinguish the specific enforcement authority for designated basin wells and surface water under these Compact Use Rules; a clarification that should allow the Rules to proceed through Water Court. We will be working with interested parties, attorneys, etc. along with the Water Resources Review Committee and Water Congress to finalize proposed legislation, and we will attempt to have the Water Committee take this legislation forward with the legislature in early Fall 2017. We will be providing updates to our Advisory Committee and email notice distribution list as we move through this process, and we will be providing updates on our website. If you are not currently on our distribution list and would like to be, please contact Chris Grimes at 303-866-3581 ext. 8253.
Additional information regarding this rulemaking, including draft rules, can be found on this page as it becomes available. If you are a water user or represent a water user in the basin and you would like to join the Special Advisory Committee, or you would like to be added to a distribution list for future information about this rulemaking, please contact Chris Grimes at 303-866-3581 ext. 8253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This rulemaking is not to be confused with the Rules and Regulations Governing the Measurement of Ground Water Diversions Affecting the Republican River Compact, Within Water Division No. 1, as adopted by the State Engineer on September 16, 2015; a rule set that focuses on measurement devices (meters) and annual reporting requirements. These rules can be found here.