Division of Water Resources

The Colorado Division of Water Resources (DWR), also known as the Office of the State Engineer, administers water rights, issues water well permits, represents Colorado in interstate water compact proceedings, monitors streamflow and water use, approves construction and repair of dams and performs dam safety inspections, issues licenses for well drillers and assures the safe and proper construction of water wells, and maintains numerous databases of Colorado water information.

Our mission is to:

  • Provide competent and dependable distribution of water in accordance with statutes, decrees and interstate compacts.
  • Ensure public safety through safe dams and properly permitted and constructed water wells.
  • Maintain and provide accurate and timely information concerning water.
  • Promote stewardship of all human, fiscal and natural resources.
  • Serve the public through the generation of creative solutions to problems.
  • Help the public understand complex water issues.
  • Promote stability in the use of the state's limited water resources.
  • Apply modern technology to its greatest advantage.

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Kevin Rein

State Engineer of Division of Water Resources

Portrait of Kevin Rein

As State Engineer and Director of the Colorado Division of Water Resources, Kevin leads an agency responsible for the distribution and administration of water in accordance with statutes and interstate compacts; the implementation of a statewide dam safety program; the permitting of the use of ground water and construction of wells; the collection and dissemination of data on water use and streamflow; and conducting various studies concerning water resources and the availability of water supplies. The State Engineer is Colorado's commissioner on five interstate compacts and is responsible for assuring compliance with these compacts. The State Engineer is also the Executive Director of the Colorado Ground Water Commission and is the Secretary of the Board of Examiners for Water Well and Pump Installation Contractors.

Kevin served as Deputy State Engineer since 2008, until his appointment to lead DWR in July of 2017. As deputy, Kevin directed and supervised the review and engineering evaluation of substitute water supply plans; water court and well permit applications; subdivision water supply plans; and other instruments that guide the management of water rights throughout Colorado. He has worked for the Division since 1998.

The State Engineer's Office was created in 1881 and includes 260 employees. Its mission is to competently and dependably administer and distribute the waters of Colorado in accordance with the laws of the state, ensure that dams and water wells are properly constructed and maintained to ensure public safety, and to develop, maintain, and provide access to accurate and timely information regarding water resources.

Boards and Commissions Info
Colorado Board of Examiners of Water Well Construction and Pump Installation Contractors

The duties of the Board of Examiners of Water Well Construction and Pump Installation Contractors ('Board of Examiners') are defined in Section 37-91-104, C.R.S. The Board of Examiners has been given general supervision and authority over the construction, repair and abandonment of water wells, test holes, and monitoring wells to ensure that such structures are constructed, repaired and abandoned in a manner that will protect ground water resources and public health. The Board of Examiners is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the provisions of Article 91 of Title 37, Rules they have adopted, and for dissemination of information to the contractors they have licensed in order to preserve and protect the ground water resource.

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Colorado Ground Water Commission

The Colorado Ground Water Commission (CGWC) is a regulatory and an adjudicatory body authorized by the General Assembly to manage and control ground water resources within eight Designated Ground Water Basins in eastern Colorado. Designated Basins are areas in the eastern plains with very little surface water where users rely primarily on ground water as their source of water supply.

The General Assembly has granted the Ground Water Commission authority under Title 37, Article 90 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (Ground Water Management Act) to adjudicate water rights and issue large capacity well permits. More information about ongoing petitions, board meetings, applicable forms, policies and rules governing the designated basins can be found in this CGWC section. Small capacity wells are administered by the State Engineer (please see our Well Permitting section for instructions and forms by well type, registering an existing well, change of ownership reporting requirements and more).

Ground Water Management Districts (GWMDs) are local districts that have additional administrative authority within their boundaries. See our Designated Basins and Ground Water Management District page for contacts and rules.

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Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority

The Authority is a quasi-governmental organization created by state statute to provide low cost financing of water related infrastructure projects to municipalities and special districts. Tax-exempt government bonds are issued and are coupled with federal government grants to provide the capital necessary to offer low interest rate loans. The Authority is comprised of a total of 11 staff, including 5 employees in the accounting department. Four distinct financing programs are operated to meet the needs of borrowers. The Authority's operations are funded by its programs, and are not dependent upon state appropriations.

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