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2018 Legislative News

There are not as many legislative issues pertaining to water as in years past, but there are still a few significant bills to note.

A set of bills deal with new uses for reclaimed water: domestic wastewater that has received secondary treatment by wastewater treatment works, as well as additional treatment needed to meet standards for approved uses. In the past, this water has been restricted to landscaping irrigation and some commercial and industrial uses. Separate bills expand this use to edible crops (HB18-1093), industrial hemp (SB18-038), and marijuana cultivation (HB18-1053).

The bills codify rules promulgated by the water quality control commission by creating three categories of water quality for reclaimed domestic wastewater and the allowable uses for each water quality standard category. The bills require the water quality control division to develop policy, guidance or best management practices for use of reclaimed domestic wastewater.

Only the bill expanding reclaimed water use to edible crops has been sent to the governor. The bills for industrial hemp and marijuana cultivation are still in the legislature.

Another bill, HB18-1199, pertains to aquifer storage-and-recovery plans. HB18-1199 authorizes a person to apply to the groundwater commission for approval of an aquifer storage-and-recovery plan and requires the commission to promulgate rules governing the application process and requirements for a plan.

This bill was signed by the governor.

One last significant piece of legislation was HB18-1151: Colorado Water Conservation Board Approve Deficit Irrigation Pilot Projects. Current laws allows the water conservation board to approve up to 15 pilot projects for agricultural water leasing or fallowing projects. The bill expands the types of projects to include deficit irrigation in water divisions 2 and 3 and within the boundaries of the Upper Gunnison Water Conservancy District. The bill also excludes the determination of historical consumptive use decreases in use resulting from deficit irrigation projects. The bill was set aside this year and may be brought up next legislative session.

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