Monday, June 6, 2011

Colorado Supreme Court Hands Down Decision in Burlington Ditch Water Case, Which was Heard at Denver Law in January 2011

The Colorado Supreme Court has published its decision in the Burlington Ditch (also referred as the FRICO case) case, which it heard oral arguments about at Denver Law on January 20, 2011. The hearing drew nearly 500 students, faculty, and a who's who of the state's leading water lawyers.

The water involved in the case is located near Barr Lake, a large reservoir a short distance north of Denver International Airport.

In an opinion written by Justice Gregory Hobbs, the Supreme Court upheld a state water court's decree and said in part, "In order to prevent an unlawful enlargement of the Burlington and FRICO water rights, the Companies' 1885 Burlington direct flow water right is limited to the 200 cubic feet per second historically diverted and used for irrigation around Barr Lake."

The case was of particular interest since a number of Denver Law alums and adjunct professors were involved on various sides of the matter.

Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, said, "This opinion marks the final stage in a major matter of water law that we were privileged to have a 'front row seat to' thanks to the Supreme Court's willingness to hear the case at Denver Law. Following the progress of this appeal has been a much talked about subject since the oral argument in January. The Supreme Court's visit was definitely a highlight of the just concluded spring semester, and we hope to host the Court again in the future."

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