Governor signs recreational water bill |

Governor signs recreational water bill

DENVER ” Gov. Bill Owens signed a bill Thursday that would restrict the use of recreational water while still allowing kayakers and boaters to enjoy their pastimes.

The bill is an attempt to clear up some of the legal wrangling that has occurred since the Legislature passed a bill in 2001 making recreation an official “beneficial use” and giving it a right to water just like more traditional uses like agriculture.

Unlike other uses, recreational users leave the water in the river allowing it to flow downstream to other users. Critics worry that decreeing too much water to water parks will hamper future water rights upstream and the state’s ability to comply with water compacts with other states.

Drew Peternell of Trout Unlimited said the bill will allow communities to decide how they want to use their water and how much water they want to provide for recreational use.

“There are more restrictions now than we had before, but the bill does give some flexibility for the community to shape its water rights according to what is acceptable to the community,” he said.

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