Update: Representative Fischer sent along the bill description in email:
Section 1 of the bill declares that increasing water use efficiency by appropriators promotes the maximum utilization of Colorado’s water resources and is in the public interest.
The amount of water that currently can be changed to a new type or place of use is limited by the amount of water that was historically consumed by the original type and place of use. Therefore, a water user has no incentive to reduce the amount of water diverted. Current law encourages the conservation of water in some contexts by eliminating from the determination of abandonment the period during which water is conserved under a variety of government-sponsored programs. However, in these contexts, the water conserved through a reduction in the application of the water to a beneficial use results in a reduction of consumptive use. Section 2 directs the water judge to disregard the decrease in use of water from such programs in its determinations of historical consumptive use in change of water right cases and adds to the list a decrease in water use to provide for compact compliance. Section 3 defines “conserved water”, and section 4 directs water judges to allow a change of water right for conserved water.
State Senator Gail Schwartz and State Representative Randy Fischer are sponsoring SB13-019: CONCERNING THE PROMOTION OF WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES. Representative Fischer told Coyote Gulch in email:
Basically, the bill would provide incentives for agricultural water users to conserve by not reducing their consumptive use credits for the amount they conserve.