Environment | Law

Southern Ute Tribe loses water rights battle in Colorado court

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled against the Southern Ute Tribe in a water rights dispute.

The tribe sought to intervene when several irrigation companies went to water court to clear up some issues. But in a 4-3 ruling, the court said the tribe missed a deadline to file.

"The resume notice and newspaper publication procedure is designed to protect the rights of water users, like the Tribe, whose rights may be affected by an application for determination of a water right," Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr. wrote for the majority. "The Tribe had a right to file a statement of opposition within the time prescribed in the statute, but failed to do so.

Justice Nancy E. Rice authored the dissent. She said the majority's decision will open the "floodgates" for previously-adjudicated water rights to be revisited without notifying all of the stakeholders.

Get the Story:
Court finds for Pine River ranchers (The Durango Herald 3/30)

Colorado Supreme Court Decision:
Southern Ute Tribe v. King Consolidated Ditch Company (March 14, 2011)

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