Division of Water Resources Releases Revised Decennial Abandonment List of Water Rights

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The Colorado Division of Water Resources (DWR) has posted the revised decennial abandonment list of water rights, an important process of Colorado water law and Colorado’s system of administering our state’s water rights.  

Every 10 years DWR is required by Colorado law to submit a list of water rights that each Division Engineer has determined meet the criteria of abandonment to the water court. “Abandonment” is defined as the termination of an absolute water right in whole or in part as a result of the intent of the owner to permanently discontinue the use of the water under that water right. 

“We appreciate the water users’ participation in the Decennial Abandonment process thus far. It is an important feature of Colorado water law that is beneficial to all water users by providing more certainty to active water users on the river,” said Kevin Rein, State Engineer and Director, Colorado Division of Water Resources.  

The initial abandonment list is carefully crafted every 10 years by the Division Engineers, who administer water rights in 7 different water basins throughout the state. The list is created by reviewing records of water diversions, conducting site visits, and completing other fact-based research.  The list is revised based on objections received and other information available to the Division Engineers.

The initial abandonment list was published in July 2020 in local news outlets and certified letters were sent to the last-known owner of the water right. Statements of objection to the initial abandonment list were reviewed by  the Division Engineers. 

The finalized revised abandonment lists were transmitted to the water courts which will publish notice of the lists in the water court resume in January 2022. Written protests may be submitted to the water court by June 30, 2022. 

The initial and final revised abandonment lists are available on DWR’s website here.

The water court’s protest form is on the water court’s website.