WA-92-3-Federal Water Rights, Reserving in Wilderness Areas

WHEREAS the issue of reserved federal water rights in wilderness areas has been complex and controversial in Colorado since the 1980 RARE II legislative effort, and

WHEREAS the Colorado Wilderness Act of 1993 included a very delicate water language compromise, worked out after difficult negotiations between Members of the Colorado congressional delegation and interested groups over a period of more than ten years, and

WHEREAS that 1993 language reads in pertinent part: no agency, court or person “shall assert… the designation of any lands as wilderness by this Act, as constituting an express or implied reservation of water or water rights.”

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that CLUB 20 affirms its belief that the issue of reserved federal water rights in wilderness areas was satisfactorily addressed by the 1993 Colorado Wilderness Act.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CLUB 20 strongly opposes any re-opening of this issue and urges the Colorado congressional delegation to use its influence to keep the matter closed, and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CLUB 20 endorses and encourages amending the 1993 Colorado Wilderness Act so that any additions to Colorado’s wilderness inventory incorporates this historical water rights language into the new wilderness areas, and 

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED, that CLUB 20 believes that matters involving water rights and water quality should remain in state jurisdiction as matters of primary local and state interest.  Federal agencies should defer to state law and cooperate with state agencies in regulating water according to local needs and conditions.

Adopted 9/9/1992

Amended 4/1/2011

Amended 9/9/2016