Time to file for Water Rights on that Undecreed Pond?
The Division of Water Resources recently announced a plan to crack down on more than 10,000 undecreed ponds in the Arkansas River basin and it is only a matter of time before similar plans are under way in other parts of the state. Many of these ponds have existed for many years, but their owners have never taken the necessary steps to obtain decreed rights to give the ponds standing in the priority system.
The Division says that each acre of exposed surface water causes the evaporation of up to one million gallons of water per year. The Division has found that the cumulative impact of all that evaporation is harming senior water rights. If you have an undecreed pond on your property, we can help assess whether the pond might qualify for an exemption or whether the pond may require the protection of an augmentation plan.
While there are few certainties in water law, it is almost always true that the passage of time only makes it harder to obtain a decreed water right. With every drought year, the rules of administration are more strictly enforced, the amount of water available for appropriation gets smaller, and the number of people competing for resources increases. This is especially true if you wait until the Division makes a concerted effort to crack down on water rights in your area.
You can read more about the pond crackdown here.
If you have questions or concerns about an undecreed pond on your property (or any other undecreed water right), please contact us today so we can help.