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Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Co. v. Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority.

2022 CO 22. No. 21SA122. Water Law—Water Decree Interpretation—Terms and Conditions.

May 16, 2022

The Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company (FRICO) filed an application with the water court to obtain a decree confirming absolute and conditional water rights to use natural runoff, drainage, waste, return flows, and seepage water accruing to the Beebe Seep Canal to supplement water deliveries to its shareholders to use for irrigation. Following a five-day trial, the water court issued a final judgment confirming and decreeing the water rights, contingent upon certain terms and conditions outlined in the final decree.

In this case, the Supreme Court considered whether the water court’s inclusion of these terms and conditions violated FRICO’s constitutional and statutory right to appropriate unappropriated water and whether the water court erred by awarding FRICO certain new water rights. The Court concluded that the water court’s inclusion of these terms and conditions does not violate FRICO’s constitutional and statutory right, these terms and conditions are supported by evidence in the record, and the water court’s award of the challenged water rights is not clearly erroneous.

Accordingly, the Court affirmed the water court’s final decree.

Official Colorado Supreme Court proceedings can be found at the Colorado Supreme Court website.

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