Walsenburg Water Rights

A Bit About Our Water Rights

Water rights in Colorado are unique when compared to other parts of the United States. The use of water in this state is governed by what is known as the "Prior Appropriation System". This system of water allocation controls who uses how much water, the types of uses allowed, and when those waters can be used. The first person to appropriate water and apply that water to use has the first right to use that water within a particular stream system. This person (after receiving a court decree verifying their priority status) then becomes the senior water right holder on the stream, and that water right must be satisfied before any other water rights can be fulfilled.

Walsenburg established significant water rights early and has continued to acquire them. These wise acquisitions by early decision makers has ensured Walsenburg enough water to serve significant future growth.

The City continues to expand and strengthen its municipal supply system to serve its current and future customers. Walsenburg’s long-term water supply and demand planning for 2015-2065 modeled key attributes of the City’s water supply system to determine its ability to meet future demand. The recent average water demand of 900 acre-feet per year is expected to more than double to 2,020 acre-feet per year by 2065. Analysis shows that City supplies are adequate to meet these projected demands butmodelling indicates that during a prolonged drought excessive reservoir drawdown could occur. This is a particular concern because most of the City’s reservoirs are multi-purpose for both the municipal water supply and recreational purposes.

Surface Water

The Colorado Division of Water Resources (DWR) administers the waters of the state and Colorado\'s water sharing agreements with other states. In order to control water effectively, a satellite monitoring system of gages on lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams has been set up throughout the state.

Walsenburg Direct Flow Water Rights

Walsenburg Direct Flow Rights
Priority Name of Ditch Diversion Adjudication
No. 1 Francisco and Daigre Mill Ditch Headgate 6/12/1889 5/30/1863 00.80 00.800
No, 2 Calf Pasture Ditch #2 Headgate 6/12/1889 6/15/1863 01.50 00.500
No. 3 Francisco and Daigre Mill Ditch Headgate 6/12/1889 6/30/1864 11.200 03.575
No. 4 Guillen Headgate 6/12/1889 5/15/1865 02.000 01.500
No. 10 Gomez None   6/18/1868 03.200 00.355
No. 12 Romero Coler 6/12/1889 5/1/1869 04.800 00.210
No. 17 Calf Pasture None 6/12/1889 5/1/1871 01.500 00.500
No. 40 Nate Patterson Coler 6/12/1889 5/15/1874 00.700 00.700
No. 46 Nate Patterson Coler 6/12/1889 5/10/1875 00.300 00.300
No. 61 Lake Miriam Coler 6/12/1889 3/1/1884 20.000 20.000
No. 124 Gomez Ditch None   4/10/1888 07.000 00.777
No. 328 Lake Miriam Coler 10/8/1921 5/2/1904 07.000 07.000


Walsenburg Water Storage Rights

Priority Name of Reservoir Adjudication
Acre Feet
No. 23 Wahatoya Reservoir 3/21/1921 10/3/1901 275
No. 24 Daigre Reservoir 10/3/1921 3/21/1901 165
No. 27 Lake Miriam (Horseshoe) Reservoir 4/14/1901 4/30/1901 1,148
No. 30 Lake Oehm (Martin) Resrvoir 10/3/1921 4/30/1901 2,573
No. 51 City Reservoir 10/3/1921 5/2/1904 411


State Monitoring System

The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) represents each major water basin, Denver and other state agencies in a joint effort to use water wisely and protect water for future generations. The CWCB is responsible for the appropriation, acquisition, protection and monitoring of instream flow (ISF) through theInstream Flow Program and natural lake level water rights to preserve and improve the natural environment to a reasonable degree.

Cucharas River Surface Water Conditions

Ground Water

Ground Water administration and enforcement is one of the primary responsibilities of the Colorado Division of Water Resources (DWR), led by the State Engineer. By law, every new well in the state that diverts ground water must have a well permit. To obtain a permit, a person must file an application for approval of a permit with the State Engineer.

"Walsenburg Ground Water Rights"]The City of Walsenburg owns two wells (non-potable) on the City Ranch property.

Drought Planning

‚ÄãDrought is a common natural phenomenon in Colorado and can significantly reduce available municipal water supplies. It is imperative for municipal water providers throughout the state to anticipate and plan for droughts. The main objective is to preserve essential public services and minimize the adverse effects of a water supply emergency on public health and safety, economic activity, environmental resources, and individual lifestyles.

The City of Walsenburg has established protocols establishing Water Conservation Measures to maintain adequate water supplies for current and future fire protection and basic domestic needs. (see Ordinance No, 1117)


Water Plans

Surface Water

Ground Water

Drought Planning