In re Application for Water Rights of Raftopoulos Brothers in Moffett County, 2013 CO 41 (Colo. Sup. Ct. 2013)

(consolidated appeal of three water rights cases involving large, neighboring, ranching operations seeking to develop water rights from small tributary for eventual commercial use; Raftopoulos sought to add alternate points of diversion and change place of use of rights to irrigate land as well as permission to store water in proposed reservoirs for industrial and commercial uses; water court issued a decree granting application of which Vermillion appeals; Vermillion argues court misinterpreted “all other beneficial uses” within 1974 decrees permitting industrial use and court erred in granting water storage rights; court held issue of interpretation of all other beneficial uses was not properly before water court and decree vacated as to any interpretation; water court held Raftopoulos showed non-speculative intent to use stored water due to dust suppression contract and oil and gas exploration; on appeal, court held no definitive need for water was shown and evidence did not show nonspeculative uses, so decree reversed as to need for storage; Raftopoulos appealed grant of additional storage to Vermillion due to lack of development of reservoirs from previous decree; appellate court reversed water court’s grant of conditional water storage for Vermillion because evidence showed Vermillion has not been reasonably diligent in developing previously decreed conditional water storage). 

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