Colorado Ditch Company Water Supply Law

A recent effort of Bendelow Law Office was to successfully simplify the operations of a mutual ditch company that supplies water to numerous Front Range farmers and a few subdivisions. A history of Colorado is incomplete without an understanding of the role of ditch companies in development of Colorado agriculture and indeed, the growth of Colorado cities and towns. As a semi-arid climate, there is simply insufficient rainfall to support the agriculture necessary to feed our citizens. That water need is met by an elaborate serpentine ditch system with brings water from the mountains to the Front Range. In Boulder County alone, one author suggests there are over 150 ditch companies.

Most of the ditch companies were formed many years ago, with water rights established in the late 1800’s. The companies commonly have corporate documents as old as their water rights. The growth of the Front Range has obviously brought great change and complexity both in uses of the land and relationship with adjoining parties. Contracts, responsibilities and government requirements have changed.

In summary, they needed to change. In this example, we were able to merge three companies into one. Contracts and obligation that have existed between the companies since 1904 were addressed. Multiple reporting and tax obligation were addressed. In this age of increased complexity, we were able to simplify.