HB15-1222, the Ag Efficiency bill, or “Son of SB-23” as some are calling it, is making its way through the legislative process after being carefully constructed as a pilot program. The CWCB and DNR were considerate in taking suggestions from CWC State Affairs Committee members and other water experts across the state throughout the drafting process, which began in the Interim Water Resources Review Committee in fall 2014. Representative K.C. Becker (D, HD13) is the bill sponsor and explains how the bill works for those transferring their water efficiency savings, for downstream users, and how the bill will allow for future investment HERE.
HB15-1178 is a bill that calls for emergency dewatering, or pumping of damaging high groundwater in the area of Gilcrest in Weld county. The bill was originally contentious because it gave the State Engineer new authorities including the ability to order a well to discontinue pumping or augment out-of-priority diversions. With the help of Representative Saine (R, HD36), CWC lobbyist Dianna Orf, and members of the Water Congress, amendments were added to the bill in an effort to reach consensus on the best way to lower the groundwater levels for affected individuals, while remaining within the confines of Colorado water law.
HB15-1259 is turning out to be more controversial than expected; the CWC State Affairs Committee took no position on the bill. This bill would allow residents in Colorado to catch up to 100 gallons of rainwater in two barrels for use on their lawns, where it is argued the water would return to anyways. While the bill is intended to provide an educational experience for Colorado residents to learn how much precipitation we receive and how quickly it is used, there is still some skepticism amongst the water community. Uncertainty remains regarding the amount of water that could potentially be removed from the system, and whether it is enough to effect downstream users to the point of injury. It is undeniable that rainwater harvesting has been and is currently being taken advantage of in Colorado, legal or not. The bill passed its first committee in the House and will now be subject to a floor vote. To review how a bill becomes a law, click HERE.
For more information about 2015 water bills and the position that CWC has taken, check out our Bill Status Sheet.