Early water storage dam building on the Grand Mesa led to the formation of the Grand Mesa Water Users Association (GMWUA). In 1879,The State Colorado established Water Commissioners through the State Engineer's Office to distribute water rights in priority, based upon principle of "First In Time...First In Right."

Flow or decreed water is determined by Colorado Water Commissioners and added to the reservoir release to creeks, streams and ditches. Water Commissioners then distribute water from creek's and streams's to private ditches. A ditch ticket is left showing the total water to be turned by a ditch rider or a GMWUA member.

Total reservoir with decreed water is turned into a GMWUA member's private ditch by the Water Commissioner to be distributed by our Ditch Rider. A ditch ticket is left by the Ditch Rider showing the total water to be turned by a ditch rider or a ditch owner.