Water court decree recognizing that a water right has been perfected (made real) by placing previously unappropriated water to a beneficial use.

Water court decree that allows a water user to divert out of priority by replacing water depletions made to the stream system in time, place and amount that would cause injury to senior water rights by intercepting water the senior would otherwise receive absent the depletion.

Water court decree that allows a different use, different point of diversion, different amount of diversion or different place of use, while retaining the senior priority of the original water right. The water consumption under the change is limited to the beneficial historical consumptive use of the original water right based on a representative time period, maintenance of the historical return flow patterns and other conditions necessary to prevent enlargement of the right or injury to other water rights.

Water court decree recognizing a priority date for a newly proposed appropriation that has not been perfected. The priority becomes fixed when the water is actually placed to beneficial use. The applicant for a conditional decree must show that there is unappropriated water available and must have a plan to divert, store or otherwise capture, possess and control the water. To continue to hold a conditional decree, the potential water user must periodically prove to the water court diligent progress toward putting the water to a beneficial use. Diligence must be shown every six years after issuance of the original decree or issuance of the most recent diligence decree.

Water court decree that allows an upstream diverter to take the water that would usually flow to a downstream diverter. The upstream diverter must provide the downstream diverter with a suitable replacement supply of water in amount, time and quality from another source.

A right that takes its water directly from the surface stream or groundwater for application to beneficial use.

A right to previously unappropriated water expressly created by federal law or by implication, meaning that even if such a right was not named explicitly, Congress implied that it was necessary to reserve water rights for present or future use on federal lands so as not to defeat the purposes for which the federal reservation of land was made. Diligence requirements are not applicable. The water is for beneficial use but may be reserved for future use far into the future before actually being placed to use. These rights are subject to quantification in federal court or state court proceedings. These reserved rights have been commonly decreed for tribal reservations, national parks, forests and monuments.

A water right held by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to preserve or improve the water-dependent natural environment.

A water right held by a local governmental entity for structures that control the flow of water for rafting and kayaking.

A right to impound a specific number of acre-feet of water. A rate of fill or refill is often included in the decree.

Colorado water rights additional resources and references.