Water Augmentation "in a Nutshell"

By Ken Blutt, Water Augmentation Committee

We (Bent Tree) do not own the water we use. Instead, it is owned by downstream users, then replaced or augmented for it by a plan developed by legal experts and written into law by the courts.

The Augmentation Plan worked out by the Bent Tree developer and the Water Court uses calculations based on established consumption rates for a standard household. Of the water used within your house, 90% is returned to the soil and underground stream through the septic system. Of the water used to irrigate sod, only 20% is returned to that underground stream. This is the reason there is so much concern when a homeowner has irrigated sod in excess of 2,000 sq. ft. This violates the agreed upon water usage augmentation requirement and may violate the water rights of the downstream water rights owner. Also entering into the calculations are the water requirements for pools and gardens.

The Great Divide Water Company was created to fulfill the water augmentation requirement. Based on the number of Bent Tree households and above-mentioned calculations, water from two different deep well pumps is used to replenish the "used up" water we individually use.

Water rights and Colorado water laws are very complicated, and is one of the basic reasons why as a Bent Tree homeowner, you are required to belong to the Bent Tree Homeowners Association - to comply with the law and maintain your water rights now and in the future.

[This article first appeared in the Bent Tree Log circa 1992.]