San Antonio, Los Pinos & Conejos River Acequia PreservationAnnotate this Case
At issue in this case were two water court rulings upholding the Special Improvement District No. 1 (“Subdistrict”) of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District’s (“District”) and the State Engineer’s approval of the 2012 Annual Replacement Plan (“ARP”) developed pursuant to the Subdistrict’s decreed Plan of Water Management (“Amended Plan”). In "San Antonio, Los Pinos & Conejos River Acequia Preservation Association v. Special Improvement District No. 1" (“San Antonio”), (270 P.3d 927 (Colo. 2011)), the Supreme Court affirmed the water court’s May 2010 Decree that approved the Subdistrict’s Amended Plan and imposed additional decree conditions on that Plan. The 2012 ARP under review here was the first ARP prepared pursuant to the Subdistrict’s Amended Plan. Water levels in the unconfined aquifer within the Subdistrict declined significantly due to increased groundwater consumption and sustained drought. The Amended Plan required the Subdistrict to prepare, and obtain the State Engineer’s approval of, an ARP that prevented injury to senior water rights. Objectors San Antonio, Los Pinos and Conejos River Acequia Preservation Association Save Our Senior Water Rights, LLC, Richard Ramstetter, and Costilla Ditch Company were senior surface water right holders on the Rio Grande River and its tributaries. They appealed two pretrial rulings as well as a judgment and decree upholding the 2012 ARP. Upon review of the objections, the Supreme Court concluded that the 2012 ARP complied with the Amended Plan and 2010 Decree, and protected against injury. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the water court's pretrial orders, judgment and decree pertaining to the 2012 ARP.