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Practice Areas
Water Law

Williams, Turner & Holmes, P.C. has always had an extensive and active water law practice. The firm’s clients include various water and irrigation districts and organizations, local governments, energy companies, farmers, ranchers and individual landowners. Our attorneys are experienced in all areas of water law and we regularly assist clients with a variety of water rights and water related issues, including:

  • Appropriating and adjudicating new water rights;
  • Developing augmentation plans and other water supply plans to provide firm water supplies for beneficial uses;
  • Changing existing water rights to meet new and different water needs;
  • Protecting, maintaining and developing existing water rights;
  • Addressing impacts to water rights and irrigation systems resulting from changing land uses;
  • Buying and selling water rights;
  • Easements for ditches, pipelines, reservoirs and other water diversion and transmission facilities;
  • Protecting the quality of water needed to supply water rights;
  • Forming lateral ditch companies and other irrigation entities; and
  • Protecting Western Colorado water supplies for use in Western Colorado

Williams, Turner & Holmes, P.C. has a long history of involvement in major West Slope water projects and issues. This involvement includes:

  • One of the predecessor attorneys in the firm, Silmon Smith, helped negotiate and draft Senate Document 80, which formed the basis for the creation and development of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project and Green Mountain Reservoir. In addition, since the 1950’s, attorneys in the firm have been continuously involved in the ongoing Blue River litigation in the United States District Court, which determined the relative rights of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, Green Mountain Reservoir, and Transmountain Diversion projects operated by the City and County of Denver and other East Slope municipalities.
  • Anthony W. Williams, a long-time member of Williams, Turner & Holmes, P.C., served as the chief negotiator in resolving differences with East Slope entities. This resolution paved the way for the construction of Wolford Mountain Reservoir, a major source of water for various water users on the West Slope.
  • The firm handled the litigation that resulted in the award of a refill right for Taylor Park Reservoir, thereby protecting irrigation uses and environmental concerns on the Taylor and Gunnison Rivers.
  • For many years the firm has represented the owners and operators of various major water projects in Western Colorado, including the operator of the Grand Valley Project, a federal reclamation project in the Grand Valley, and the water conservancy district that is the largest domestic water supplier on the Western Slope.
  • Williams, Turner & Holmes, P.C. has a long history of representing various energy companies in the acquisition, appropriation, adjudication, and development of water rights used in the development of mineral resources such as oil, gas and oil shale.
  • The firm was actively involved in the development of the Programmatic Biological Opinion for the recovery of endangered fish in the Colorado River drainage, which allowed for the continued development of Colorado River water resources for beneficial uses while at the same time protecting endangered fish in the River.
  • The firm represented water interests in the Grand Valley of Western Colorado in negotiating the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement (CRCA).  The CRCA is a comprehensive agreement that resolved historical conflicts between Denver Water and a broad coalition of West Slope water interests and provided a framework for future cooperation between these entities.

Mark Hermundstad and Kirsten Kurath advise clients with respect to water law and related matters.