Below is a list of questions that we are frequently asked.
Answer: Grand Mesa Water Users office is located at 980 West Main Street, Cedaredge, CO 81413. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 399, Cedaredge, CO 81413.
Answer: The GMWUA office is open during the water season Monday thru Friday 9:00am to 2:00pm. Water is turned on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You must place your water order no later than 2:00pm the day before you would like your water turned. Monday orders must be placed by 2:00pm the Friday before the requested Monday turn.
Answer: Yes. You cannot order less than .05 cubic feet per second (c.f.s) and your order must be for at least two days, except weekend orders which are for a minimum of three days.
Answer: Call the GMWUA office before 2:00pm. the day before the water is scheduled to be turned.
Answer: A water commissioner is an employee of the State of Colorado, Division of Natural Resources. A water commissioners main responsibility is to administer the decreed water or natural flow to it's rightful applicant and to keep accurate records of same; to see that headgates and measuring devices (a/k/a Parshall Fumes) are properly maintained by the owners; to see that each owner gets the proper amount of water to which he or she is entitled, be it decreed water or reservoir water and to assist in the enforcement of Colorado Water Laws. A water commissioners goal is minimize injury to any water right thru equitable distribution. A water commissioner's responsibility ends at the headgate on the creek. This is where the ditch riders responsibility starts.
Answer: A ditch rider is an employee of a private ditch company. Their wages are paid by the annual water assessments levied by each ditch company. Ditch riders are responsible for water distribution on the main ditch and maintaining accurate records. A ditch riders responsibility ends at the beginning of a private lateral.
Answer: Most ditches in the area are smaller and unincorporated and do not employ a ditch rider. In this case you will need to work with the other owners to divide your water. The water commissioner will post a headgate notice at the creek with amounts per owner. You will be responsible to calculate shrink.
Answer: At certain times of the year, the stream flow will be low. You will need to put a small dam in the creek or stream to create pressure on the headgate. Often times, the water commissioner or ditch rider has several turns to make and does not have the time to do this. You should also make sure your measuring device is free of mud or grass so the water flows through the measuring device smoothly. If the measuring device is not clean, your water cannot be accurately measured.
Answer: In several cases, more than one person owns water in a ditch that has no ditch rider. In this instance, the water commissioner or ditch rider will leave a ticket on or near the headgate at the head of the ditch explaining who is entitled to the water, for how long and the amount of water to be used by each person.
Answer: First, check the ticket at the head ditch to see who all has water ordered in that ditch. Next, divert your water from the main ditch into your ditch. You are only entitled to the amount of water you have ordered. It is your responsibility to make sure you are taking the correct amount. If you have to place boards or set a dam in the ditch to get your water, it is also your responsibility to remove the boards or dam when you're finished.
Answer: On all unincorporated and private lateral ditches, you have the responsibility and obligation to maintain your ditch. You can cut and remove trees or brush that are obstructing the flow of water thru the ditch. You need to use a shovel to remove sod and grass in the ditch that is obstructing the flow of water. The size of the easement is determinate to the size of equipment needed to maintain the ditch. You must consult with other property owners before doing any ditch work on their property. Where there is more than one owner on a ditch it is customary to share ditch maintenance expenses, so please consult with the other ditch owners before spending money on ditch expenses that should be shared by all users. In all situations, good communication is key! On larger, incorporated ditches, repair work and expenses are generally paid for by the assessments charged to the shareholders of the particular ditch. Work is overseen by the ditch rider.
Answer: Once appropriations are placed on this website, you will be able to calculate your amount of reservoir water. When you purchase property, you should be deeded interest in the various ditches and decrees that pertain to the purchased property. In some cases you will receive deeded interest in one or more reservoirs. In other cases, you will receive stock certificates for shares in a reservoir company. The supervising water commissioners office can also assist you in determining the storage capacity of the reservoir and the amounts decreed to various ditches, their adjudicated dates or priority numbers.
Answer: Contact the water commissioner or ditch rider for a rating table and explanation of how to read.
Answer: There are a lot of variables when figuring shrink but a good rule of thumb is to figure shrink at 1% per mile.
Answer: When the Grand Mesa Water Users credit or appropriate reservoir water each spring, an amount (usually 10%) is deducted from the total fill to allow for evaporation and loss. This total may vary depending on the carryover, snow pack, and when the senior call comes on the creek below "pegging" your reservoir for the year under the one fill rule. If historic records show your reservoir leaks or evaporates at an accelerated rate compared to others, a greater deduction may apply.
Answer: When a call is made on the creek below the reservoir by a senior water right, the reservoir is pegged at that time and any flows coming into the reservoir will be turned through to the calling structure. So peg would mean keeping the level static. This term is also used on ditches when someone wants to visually check the changes to stage at the ditch bank instead of walking to the parshall flume. On a reservoir, you might hear "the gage rod is pegged at 7.5", whereas on a ditch an actual peg or stick is used. When reservoirs are being pegged, a determination needs to be made regarding the calling structure's priority in comparison to the priority of the fill right, i.e. all reservoirs in the drainage may not be pegged in order to satisfy the call.
Answer: A seven state compact was executed in 1922 between the upper basin states of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico and the lower basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada. It apportions the right to exclusive beneficial consumptive use of 7.5 million acre-ft in perpetuity to the Lower Basin. It also allows an additional 1 million acre-ft per year of increased beneficial consumptive use to the Lower Basin. It further provides that the Upper Basin states will not cause the flow at Lees Ferry, Arizona to be depleted below an aggregate of 75 million acre-ft for any period of 10 consecutive years. To read more on this subject, go to our Links page and click on the hyperlink "CWCB Interstate Compact".
Answer: This is simply the act of adjusting a headgate.
Answer: If for some reason your flume is not reading accurately, and cannot be reset, it may be possible to assign a "shift" to the rating. A hydrographer may use a current meter to measure the flow to determine the shift. If it turns out to be a -.02 shift, you would deduct .02 from your staff gage reading from the rating table to get the actual discharge. Assigning a shift is discouraged as opposed to resetting or replacing your flume if possible.
Answer: Nothing. They are both measuring devices for water and the terms are often used interchangeably.
Answer: To read more about different measuring devices go to our Links page and click on the hyperlink "Measuring Devices".
Answer: All weirs are designed to control the flow of water through a flume or over fixed structure such as steel plates in ditches or concrete ramp flumes in creeks or rivers. Equations are developed based on Discharge = Area X Velocity resulting in a stage / discharge relationship or rating. Rating tables are developed for various weirs which are available at the water office (yellow chart for Parshall Flume). In order for a rating table to be accurate, several requirements must be met such as: The weir must built to specific dimensions and installed correctly in the stream or ditch both plumb and level. The approach must be straight and a still pond maintained to minimize excess or variable velocities. Wing walls are commonly installed to eliminate leaks around the flume. The downstream side must allow the water to freely flow away from weir to avoid submergence or backing water into the structure. To use the Parshall Flume rating table, measure across your flume at the the narrowest section (throat) to determine the size and match at the top of the chart. Next, read the staff gage located in the flume. This is an engineer scale in which each foot is divided in hundredths and numbered in tenths and one foot increments. Always read the top and bottom of the black lines for accuracy (bottom line = .01, first number up =.10 or tenth of a foot, one foot up = 1.0). These values are are matched to the size of the flume to give you discharge in cubic feet per second. For example, if your Parshall is 9 inch, and the staff gage reads .26 then your discharge is .39 c.f.s.
Answer: Reservoir dams are inspected in accordance with Section 37-87-107 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. This statute assigns a Dam Safety Engineer the responsibility of determining the amount of water which is safe to impound in reservoirs within the state of Colorado. If you have received an Inspection Report, you should read this report very carefully. It will address all portions of your dam from the crest to the slopes, to the outlet and spillway. Areas of concern or problems will be noted and pictures attached for visual representation. There may be a time limit in which repairs and maintenance need to be performed in order to continue storing water. It is advisable to not ignore the Inspection Report and contact either your State Water Commissioner or Dam Safety Engineer for help in addressing the needed maintenance or repairs.
Answer: The opening date varies each year. The more flow water that is available, the later the office will open. In a plentiful water year, our office has opened as late as July 28. When there is a year with less flow water and the stored water is required sooner, the office will open earlier. In drier years, we have opened and started taking orders as early as May 1.
Answer: When a reservoir is constructed, the owner or appropriator files an application to perfect his water right through the water courts (adjudication) which if approved, will result in a court decree. The decree confirms the beneficial appropriation (absolute water right) or the intent to beneficially use water (conditional water right). The decree specifies the amount of water that can be diverted from a source at a given location, for a beneficial use, and establishes a priority date and number. The amount of water in the reservoir is determined by a survey resulting in a capacity table that when tied to a gage rod reading will give the active storage in acre feet. Any water remaining below the active storage level or below the headgate is called "dead pool" and probably existed before the construction of the dam.
Answer: A decree is a court ruling perfecting a water right (adjudication) including a appropriation date (date in which the actual diversion of water took place), a beneficial use (irrigation, municipal, storage, recreation, ect....), location of beneficial use, and the amount to be diverted in CFS. The water court will assign a priority number (decree number) based on time of adjudication. A flow right (decree) will be placed to beneficial use at the time of appropriation and the time of use will depend on the decreed priority number and the amount of snow melt available in the stream. Flow rights for irrigation ditches would typically be available during the irrigation season (April 1st to Nov. 1st). Picture a storage right (reservoir) as a ditch headgate which fills during the non - irrigation season (Nov. 1st to March 31st) and during the irrigation season under free river conditions (all senior priorities are satisfied). Reservoirs have the same information on the decree with amount listed in acre feet. Storage rights have a delayed diversion as opposed to direct flow rights.