WATER: August 7, 2014

Vested Water Property

Roni Bell Sylvester


After having attended and testified on matters as pertains to Water, we’ve observed a glaring absence of finding out whose Vested Water Property (Property) is being discussed. What is the purpose of a Water meeting without knowing the Property and date of appropriation being discussed?

All property is owned by some entity. Water is not exempt. Under Colorado’s Constitution, laws and statutes of Prior Appropriation, is very easy to discern: “First in time first in right” means; as Water flows downhill, those closer to the headwaters have first Waters to put to beneficial use and therefore are Senior. Their date of beneficial use and allotment quantity is filed with the state engineer. The further -one is from the headwaters, the lessor the flow -the later the date and the lessor the allotment quantity. When the Water’s natural flow dries up, the Junior users don’t have Water.

Regardless the date of decree, one cannot declare ownership of Water until they put that Water to beneficial use. If there’s no Water to put to beneficial use, a decree is worthless. Most abstracts/deeds/chain of title whatever historic documentation one has bears out this fact.

Our constitution does not differentiate between ground and surface; likely because our forefathers knew ground and surface are connected/inseparable. Therefore their one word declaration – Water.

Like any other property, one can obtain Water as “Vested Property.” Water can be bought, sold and stolen like any other property. When one uses their Water to destroy another’s property, that’s a simple case of trespass and a call to the sheriff, not a Water attorney. When one steals another’s Water, that’s a simple case of property theft and a call to the sheriff, not a Water attorney.

Using Water meetings and Water court to stop Water trespass and theft is as worthless as using poodles to stop wolves from killing sheep.

I urge you to take under consideration the following recommendations:

  1. Water meetings must have displayed, a surveyed map with Vested Water Property Owners dates of appropriation so noted.
  2. From the onset of each meeting, organizers must faithfully identify whose Vested Water Property may be included in plans.
  3. Water meetings should be completely transparent, open door and open books to each Vested Water Property Owner.
  4. It should be a requirement that the party who wants Water from Owner have money enough in escrow to justly compensate Owner from party’s first thought on. No Owner should be disturbed, bothered or denied use of Property without just compensation from day one.
  5. Party that denies just compensation to Owner, should face punishment as provided under law.

Roni Bell Sylvester
P.O. Box 155
LaSalle, CO 80645
(970) 284-6874

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