Lytle Water Solutions personnel have been involved with aspects of water rights in Colorado and in other parts of the western United States for over 25 years. This work has involved the evaluation of direct flow surface water rights, storage rights, and tributary and nontributary ground water rights, and includes supporting many types of water rights filings, as well as evaluating the merits of water rights filings by others. Areas where LWS personnel have been involved in water rights, as demonstrated by representative completed projects and Water Court cases, are described below.
Adjudication of Denver Basin Rights
LWS has assisted many clients with calculation of water availability using the Denver Basin Rules, accounting for prior-vested rights, and using geophysical log interpretations to assist with our evaluations. Numerous decrees have been entered based on our analyses.
Direct Flow/Alluvial Water Rights
LWS personnel have analyzed tributary direct flow and alluvial ground water rights by demonstrating through hydrologic analyses that water is available for appropriation, there is a demonstrated beneficial use for the water, and that use of the water will not cause injury to other vested senior water rights. LWS has provided the technical assistance associated with the adjudication of numerous direct flow rights.
LWS routinely prepares augmentation plans to allow pumping of junior alluvial wells, pumping of not-nontributary water, mitigating the depletive effects due to mining operations, and replacement of evaporative losses on reservoir water surfaces. Augmentation plan accounting forms have been prepared by LWS in conjunction with the engineering work for the augmentation plans. Substitute water supply plans (SWSPs) have also been prepared in many cases for clients that need a temporary water supply prior to the adjudication of the augmentation plan in Water Court.
Change of Use Proceedings
Historic irrigation water rights have been changed to municipal and industrial use by quantifying the historic depletive effect to the stream system and to demonstrate that the new use will not cause injury to any vested senior water right. This work typically requires hydrologic analyses of physically-available water, the use of aerial photo interpretation to assess historic use, evaluation of available records, and use of the Blaney-Criddle equation to quantify crop consumptive use.
Water Rights Valuations
LWS personnel bring special expertise to the valuation of direct flow surface water rights, water storage rights, alluvial ground water rights and Denver Basin water rights. Many valuations have been completed for various clients to assist in condemnation cases, to assess the value of water supply systems, and to evaluate lease rates for water and storage rights. Such analyses are also used in assessing value for both purchase and sale of water rights, and to assess economic viability related to water rights transactions. Expert testimony has been provided by LWS to defend water right valuations.
Water Court cases typically require that an engineering report be prepared to support the application request. LWS personnel have produced dozens of engineering reports that form the technical bases for numerous Water Court applications, including direct flow rights, nontributary water rights, augmentation plans and exchanges, change of use proceedings, and water storage rights.