In 2021, the Colorado State Water Division (Division) announced it was implementing a Pond Management Project. Kansas has recently stated that if the Division does not address unpermitted/unlawful ponds which are keeping water from flowing into Kansas, the mid-western state will sue Colorado once again.
This project is looking to take out ponds that are not specifically exempted for livestock use or do not have some sort of augmentation (water replacement) plan in place. As many landowners know, an evaporation fee is commonplace on the eastern plains of Colorado. This fee makes up for water that is lost to evaporation, and cannot be replaced by some means. Phase 1 was implemented in 2021 and officials estimate that it will take approximately 10 years to complete this phase. The Arkansas River is the primary focus in phase 1, with tributaries in Elbert and El Paso counties being first on the list. The exemption process does require a field visit from the Division office.
It's important to note that, under current Colorado Statute, ponds used for watering livestock (called Livestock Watering Tanks on the Division's website) are exempt from augmentation plans and evaporation fees. However, your pond must have exemption paperwork completed. The pond itself does not have to be permitted in order to be exempted, but a permit is recommended in case anyone downstream from you files a complaint. Colorado is a "prior appropriation" state, meaning "first come, first served". If you have the permit that was filed first, any complaints against you have very little chance of standing up in court.
Here is a link to the Division's website so you can read about the Pond Management Project for yourself.https://dwr.colorado.gov/services/water-administration/pond-management
Ever wonder if your livestock ponds are permitted? What if they are permitted in someone else's name, like a previous owner? I can help you identify and permit your livestock ponds, complete the change of ownership/mailing address changes, and I can help you through the exemption process. You'll get printed maps of each pasture/allotment with labeled pond locations, and a written report.
Please use the contact form on my Home page to inquire about services and availability.
Basic Package: Printed maps showing pond locations, pond exemptions & written report- $25/hr
Intermediate Package: Basic + Permits for ponds & wells - $35/hr
Advanced Package: Basic + Intermediate + Change in ownership/address or corrected location - $50/hr