The Interim Water Resources Review Committee held its final meeting on October 30, hearing several presentations and voting on draft legislation to present to the Legislative Council, composed of leadership in both houses, on November 14. In order to move a bill forward, the ten member committee was required to pass it by a 2/3 vote. Bills moving forward include:
The bill was amended to: 1) clarify the capacity of small hydro facilities exempted from federal licensing, 2) define hydroelectricity to include pumped hydro, 3) to lower the number of subscribers from ten to two, and 4) to remove the exemption for electric cooperatives and municipally owned utilities, and 5) allowing sale of the electricity to only the utility serving the area where the facility is located. The bill, as amended, passed unanimously. The bill would start in the House with Representatives Coram and Mitch Bush as co-prime sponsors and Senators Schwartz and Roberts in the Senate. The Colorado Water Congress State Affairs Committee had No Position on this bill.
Bill 2 (LLS No. 14-0248.01) CONCERNING THE AUTHORIZATION OF FLEXIBLE WATER MARKETS.
The bill was amended to clarify in the definition of “flex consumptive use” that it would apply fully consumptive portions of a water rights quantified by either a water court change in use decree or substitute water supply plan approvals entered on or after June 1, 2014. The bill was also amended to add ‘where appropriate, non-consumptive use” to the implementation of a flex use. The bill, as amended, passed on an 8-2 vote. It would start in the House, with prime sponsors being Rep. Fischer and Sen. Schwartz. The Colorado Water Congress State Affairs Committee supported this bill.
Bill 3 (LLS No. 14-0259.01) CONCERNING GRANTS FOR DOMESTIC WASTEWATER TREATMENT WORKS FOR SMALL COMMUNITIES.
The bill was amended to include a requirement for the department to authorize grants based on water quality needs and public health related problems. The Commission is required to promulgate a project categorization system for proposed projects to be used when reviewing applications for grants. The bill, as amended, passed unanimously. The bill would start in the Senate with Sen. Hodge and Rep. Fischer as prime sponsors. The Colorado Water Congress State Affairs Committee did not take a position on this bill.
Bill 10 (LLS No. 14-0247) CONCERNING THE REMOVAL OF CERTAIN STATUTORY PRINTING REQUIREMENTS FOR INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE DIVISION OF WATER RESOURCES.
The bill was amended to include electronic notification as primary means of communication (unless a person has elected to receive by first-class mail) for establishment of a list for notification of the filing of substitute water supply plans;, for service of decisions approving or denying substitute water supply plan; and for service of decisions approving or denying interruptible supply agreements. The bill, as amended, was passed unanimously. Sen. Hodge and Rep. Vigil will serve as prime sponsors. The Colorado Water Congress State Affairs Committee supported this bill as originally drafted; did not have opportunity to review amendments prior to interim committee meeting.
Bill 11 (LLS No. 14-0244.01) CONCERNING LIMITATIONS ON THE UNITED STATES’ ABILITY TO IMPOSE CONDITIONS ON A WATER RIGHT IN EXCHANGE FOR PERMISSION TO USE LAND.
Rep. Sonnenberg offered a strike-below that makes a water right originally appropriated by a person other than the United States which is obtained by the United States as a condition of an authorization to use federal land and not part of a federally reserved water right to be presumed to be held for speculative purposes. Such right would be forfeited by the United States and reverts to the prior owner or the prior owner’s successors and assigns. The bill, as amended by the strike-below, passed on an 8-2 vote. It will start in the House with Rep. Sonnenberg and Sen. Roberts as prime sponsors. Sen. Schwartz requested to work with Rep. Sonnenberg on the bill after the Forest Service issues its new policy related to water rights. The Colorado Water Congress State Affairs Committee supported this bill as originally drafted; did not have opportunity to review the strike-below prior to interim committee meeting.
Resolution 1 (LLS No. R 14-0250.01) CONCERNING A SPECIAL EXEMPTION FROM INTERSTATE HIGHWAY WEIGHT LIMITS FOR DIVISIBLE TRUCK LOADS CARRYING FOREST PRODUCTS.
The resolution was amended to remove the reference to a specific company. As amended, the resolution passed on a 9-1 vote. Prime sponsors will be Rep. Coram and Sen. Schwartz. The Colorado Water Congress State Affairs Committee did not take a position on the resolution.
Bills 4, 5, 8, and 9 were withdrawn from consideration by their respective sponsors.
Bills 6 and 7 each failed on a 6-4 vote which was insufficient to meet the 2/3 vote necessary for passage.
Bills which did not succeed as Interim Committee bills may still be introduced by individual legislators in their allotment of five bills for the session.