“We are not going to be afraid to litigate” to protect Colorado’s water rights, AG says | SummitDaily.com

“We are not going to be afraid to litigate” to protect Colorado’s water rights, AG says

Nick Coltrain
Denver Post
DENVER, CO – JANUARY 12: Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser speaks during his investiture ceremony in the Colorado Supreme Court Chamber at the Ralph L.Carr Colorado Judicial Center January 12, 2023.
Andy Cross/The Denver Post

Colorado’s attorney general is seeking to reinforce his office’s water-focused legal team so it could be prepared for upcoming fights over the Colorado River.

Attorney General Phil Weiser, who was just re-elected to a second term, said his office needs to be prepared for litigation or negotiation with other stakeholders to defend Colorado’s water rights.

He’s not asking for an overhaul of the office — his ask to the Joint Budget Committee is for two new positions, and water and natural resources make up an overall small percentage of his office’s total budget — but he noted that “the challenges with water are heating up.”

“The era of the lower basin states taking as much water as they wanted — up to 10 million acre-feet when they’re only entitled 7.5 — is over,” Weiser said recently.

The lower basin of the Colorado River begins at Lees Ferry, a point just south of the Utah-Arizona border. The lower basin includes those states plus, California, Nevada and New Mexico, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The interstate Colorado River Compact allows upper and lower basin states to pull 7.5 million acre-feet of water per year.

Read the full story at DenverPost.com.

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