Hill Ranch Water-Rights Acquisition
Providing technical support and expert testimony to guide water rights changes in the Colorado water court process.
The Pueblo West Metropolitan District has been pursuing additional water rights to meet its growing municipal demand. Hill Ranch is a high altitude, irrigated pasture-grass ranch located near Buena Vista, Colorado. When the Hill Ranch water rights became available for sale, RESPEC performed a due-diligence analysis to estimate the value of the water rights for the District in terms of cost, water yield, and the ability to incorporate the water rights into the District’s water infrastructure. Based on the analysis, the District decided to purchase the water rights. RESPEC, along with water attorneys, provided technical assistance in purchasing the rights and determining the associated consumptive-use yield. Field investigations were completed to confirm the locations of the irrigation ditches and laterals and to determine the historic irrigated area upon which the water rights had been used. Historic ditch-diversion records were acquired and a spreadsheet allocation of those diversions to the various water-rights priorities was completed. A historic consumptive-use analysis was performed to determine the amount of transferable consumptive-use water available from the Hill Ranch water rights. RESPEC provided the continuous technical support and expert testimony needed to guide the change in water rights through the Colorado water court process. After a very detailed analysis and rather lengthy water court process, the water rights purchased represented approximately 1,900 acre-feet of additional consumptive-use water that was made available to the District.