Colorado Revised Statutes Title 37. Water and Irrigation § 37-90-103. Definitions--repeal




As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Alternate point of diversion well” means any well drilled and used, in addition to an original well or other diversion, for the purpose of obtaining the present appropriation of that original well, from more than one point of diversion.

(2) “Aquifer” means a formation, group of formations, or part of a formation containing sufficient saturated permeable material that could yield a sufficient quantity of water that may be extracted and applied to a beneficial use.

(3) “Artesian well” means a well tapping an aquifer in which the static water level in the well rises above where it was first encountered in the aquifer, due to hydrostatic pressure.

(4) “Board” or “board of directors” means the board of directors of a ground water management district as organized under section 37-90-124.

(5) “Colorado water conservation board” refers to the board created in section 37-60-102.

(6)(a) “Designated ground water” means that ground water which in its natural course would not be available to and required for the fulfillment of decreed surface rights, or ground water in areas not adjacent to a continuously flowing natural stream wherein ground water withdrawals have constituted the principal water usage for at least fifteen years preceding the date of the first hearing on the proposed designation of the basin, and which in both cases is within the geographic boundaries of a designated ground water basin.  “Designated ground water” shall not include any ground water within the Dawson-Arkose, Denver, Arapahoe, or Laramie-Fox Hills formation located outside the boundaries of any designated ground water basin that was in existence on January 1, 1983.

(b)(I) However, “designated ground water” may include any ground water in the Crow Creek drainage area in Weld county, upstream from the confluence of Crow Creek and Little Crow Creek, within the Laramie-Fox Hills formation located outside such boundaries when the Laramie-Fox Hills formation is not overlaid by the Dawson-Arkose, Denver, or Arapahoe formations.

(II) If, upon receipt by the state engineer of the findings of the Laramie-Fox Hills study, as authorized by Senate Bill 250, 1985 legislative session, that the upper Crow Creek drainage area in Weld county, upstream from the confluence of Crow Creek and Little Crow Creek, within the Laramie-Fox Hills formation when the Laramie-Fox Hills formation is not overlaid by the Dawson-Arkose, Denver, or Arapahoe formations should not be a designated ground water basin, this paragraph (b) is repealed.

(7) “Designated ground water basin” means that area established by the ground water commission in accordance with section 37-90-106.

(8) “Ground water commission” or “commission” refers to the ground water commission created and provided for in section 37-90-104 to facilitate the functioning of this article.

(9) “Ground water management district” or “district” means any district organized under the provisions of this article.

(10) “Historical water level” means the average elevation of the ground water level in any area before being lowered by the activities of man, as nearly as can be determined from scientific investigation and available facts.

(10.5) “Nontributary ground water” means that ground water, located outside the boundaries of any designated ground water basins in existence on January 1, 1985, the withdrawal of which will not, within one hundred years of continuous withdrawal, deplete the flow of a natural stream, including a natural stream as defined in sections 37-82-101(2) and 37-92-102(1)(b), at an annual rate greater than one-tenth of one percent of the annual rate of withdrawal.  The determination of whether ground water is nontributary shall be based on aquifer conditions existing at the time of permit application;  except that, in recognition of the de minimis amount of water discharging from the Dawson, Denver, Arapahoe, and Laramie-Fox Hills aquifers into surface streams due to artesian pressure, when compared with the great economic importance of the ground water in those aquifers, and the feasibility and requirement of full augmentation by wells located in the tributary portions of those aquifers, it is specifically found and declared that, in determining whether ground water of the Dawson, Denver, Arapahoe, and Laramie-Fox Hills aquifers is nontributary, it shall be assumed that the hydrostatic pressure level in each such aquifer has been lowered at least to the top of that aquifer throughout that aquifer;  except that not nontributary ground water, as defined in subsection (10.7) of this section, in the Denver basin shall not become nontributary ground water as a result of the aquifer's hydrostatic pressure level dropping below the alluvium of an adjacent stream due to Denver basin well pumping activity.  Nothing in this subsection (10.5) shall preclude the designation of any aquifer or basin, or any portion thereof, which is otherwise eligible for designation under the standard set forth in subsection (6) of this section relating to ground water in areas not adjacent to a continuously flowing natural stream wherein ground water withdrawals have constituted the principal water usage for at least fifteen years preceding the date of the first hearing on the proposed designation of a basin.

(10.7) “Not nontributary ground water” means ground water located within those portions of the Dawson, Denver, Arapahoe, and Laramie-Fox Hills aquifers that are outside the boundaries of any designated ground water basin in existence on January 1, 1985, the withdrawal of which will, within one hundred years, deplete the flow of a natural stream, including a natural stream as defined in sections 37-82-101(2) and 37-92-102(1)(b), at an annual rate of greater than one-tenth of one percent of the annual rate of withdrawal.

(10.9) “Oil and gas well” means a well permitted by the Colorado oil and gas conservation commission or a well authorized by a federal or tribal entity for the primary purpose of mining, including exploration or production, of petroleum products.

(11) “Person” means any individual, partnership, association, or corporation authorized to do business in the state of Colorado, or any political subdivision or public agency thereof, or any agency of the United States, making a beneficial use, or taking steps, or doing work preliminary to making a beneficial use of designated underground waters of Colorado.

(12) “Private driller” means any individual, corporation, partnership, association, political subdivision, or public agency which operates as lessee or owner its own well drilling rig and equipment and which digs, drills, redrills, cases, recases, deepens, or excavates a well upon the property of such entity.

(12.5) “Quarter-quarter” means a fourth of a fourth of a section of land and is equal to approximately forty acres.

(12.7) “Replacement plan” means a detailed program to increase the supply of water available for beneficial use in a designated ground water basin or portion thereof for the purpose of preventing material injury to other water rights by the development of new points of diversion, by pooling of water resources, by water exchange projects, by providing substitute supplies of water, by the development of new sources of water, or by any other appropriate means consistent with the rules adopted by the commission.  “Replacement plan” does not include the salvage of designated ground water by the eradication of phreatophytes, nor does it include the use of precipitation water collected from land surfaces that have been made impermeable, thereby increasing the runoff, but not adding to the existing supply of water.

(13) “Replacement well” means a new well which replaces an existing well and which shall be limited to the yield of the original well and shall take the date of priority of the original well, which shall be abandoned upon completion of the new well.

(14) “Resident agriculturist” means a bona fide farmer or rancher residing in the designated ground water basin whose major source of income is derived from the production and sale of agricultural products.

(15) “State engineer” means the state engineer of Colorado or any person deputized by him in writing to perform a duty or exercise a right granted in this article.

(16) “Subdivision” means an area within a ground water basin.

(17) “Supplemental well” means any well drilled and used, in addition to an original well or other diversion, for the purpose of obtaining the quantity of the original appropriation of the original well, which quantity can no longer be obtained from the original well.

(18) “Taxpaying elector” means a person qualified to vote at general elections in Colorado, who owns real or personal property within the district and has paid ad valorem taxes thereon in the twenty months immediately preceding a designated time or event, which property is subject to taxation at the time of any election held under the provisions of this article or at any other time in reference to which the term “taxpaying elector” is used.  A person who is obligated to pay taxes under a contract to purchase real property in the district shall be considered an owner.  The ownership of any property subject to the payment of a specific ownership tax on a motor vehicle or trailer or of any other excise or property tax other than general ad valorem property taxes shall not constitute the ownership of property subject to taxation as provided in this article.

(19) “Underground water” and “ground water” are used interchangeably in this article and mean any water not visible on the surface of the ground under natural conditions.

(20) “Waste” means causing, suffering, or permitting any well to discharge water unnecessarily above or below the surface of the ground.

(21)(a) “Well” means any structure or device used for the purpose or with the effect of obtaining ground water for beneficial use from an aquifer.  Well includes an augmentation well that diverts ground water tributary to the South Platte river and delivers it to a surface stream, ditch, canal, reservoir, or recharge facility to replace out-of-priority stream depletions, or to meet South Platte river compact obligations, either directly or by recharge accretions, as part of a plan for augmentation approved by the water judge for water division 1 or a substitute water supply plan approved pursuant to section 37-92-308.

(b) “Well” does not include a naturally flowing spring or springs where the natural spring discharge is captured or concentrated by installation of a near-surface structure or device less than ten feet in depth located at or within fifty feet of the spring or springs' natural discharge point and the water is conveyed directly by gravity flow or into a separate sump or storage, if the owner obtains a water right for such structure or device as a spring pursuant to article 92 of this title.

(22) “Well driller” means any individual, corporation, partnership, association, political subdivision, or public agency which digs, drills, cases, recases, deepens, or excavates a well either by contract or for hire or for any consideration whatsoever.


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