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what protects our water rights?

Articles of Incorporation

Incorporated in 1907 under the Colorado Water Law of 1905

Colorado's Prior Appropriation Law

First in time, first in right.

Colorado Compact 1922

Article IIIV - Present perfected rights to the beneficial use of the waters of the Colorado River System are unimpaired by this compact,

Senate Document 80

The Green Mountain Reservoir must be operated in such a manner as to most nearly effect the following primary purposes: 

1. To preserve the vested and future rights in Western Colorado irrigation.  This is in perpetuity.

Blue River Decree and 1964 Stipulations

Green Mountain Reservoir, storage for the Grand Valley Project,  has rights that superseded those of the Eastern Colorado municipalities domestic preference, US vs Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and City and County of Denver, 1979.  

About every ten years Denver and Northern Colorado make a run for our water.

A water right is to protect the owners desired use from the impact of unknown future projects

illegally fallowing farm ground

The Grand Valley Water Users Association (GVWUA)  Manager,  Mark Harris, and the Board of Directors set up a program in 2016-17 to test the MARKETING of the Associations water through an ILLEGAL FALLOWING of land project.  Ten farmers, including current members of the Board of Directors,  (a conflict of interest according to Colorado law) were hand picked to fallow farm ground for compensation. The farmers/Board of Directors paid themselves up to $623/acre.   Administration/Harris, received $128,977 and GVWUA infrastructure received $145,095. The water not used, Harris said, would be allowed to flow down stream to "help fill  Lake Powell". 

Why is this illegal?

The GVWUA Articles of Incorporation state:

1.  T he water is appurtenant, tied to, the land and cannot be separated from that land.  Article IV Section 6. 

2.  The water cannot be transferred without a transfer of the land, Article V Section 10. 


3.  Any transfer or attempted transfer of the shares of the Association unless a simultaneously  transfer of the land to which it is appurtenant shall be of no force or effect for any purpose and shall confer no rights of any kind on the person to whom such transfer may have been attempted to be made, Article V Section 11.

4.  Article IV Section 5,  gives the legal description of the area where the water is to be put to beneficial use,  Indian Wash (29 Road) to Mack, CO.  

5.  Board members or their families receiving compensation for fallowing their land is a violation of Colorado's nonprofit  law.

  C.R.S. 7-128-501 (1)

A conflicting interest transaction means: A contract, transaction or other financial relationship between a nonprofit corporation and a director or family member of a director of a nonprofit corporation.

6.  Colorado State law requires  water apportioned in the state to be used within in Colorado.  It is unlawful to knowingly  allow the water apportioned in this state to flow past the state line. Using GVWUA water to "help  fill Lake Powell" is illegal, C.R.S. 37-81-101.  

7.  As a interested shareholder I have tried to attend Board of Directors meetings for the last two years. Mark Harris refuses to allow me to attend.  In January of 2019 I asked for a written answer to why shareholders are not allowed to be present during board meetings, I received a letter from the legal counsel Kirsten Kurath.  Many Colorado statutes were included but  Ms. Kurath left out C.R.S. 37-41-114 -  Irrigation Laws of 1905 which states   "All meetings of the board must be public...".  Our Association was organized in 1907 so we were organized under the 1905 Irrigation Law.

8.  Federal law supports water apportioned in the State of Colorado to be used in Colorado. The Colorado Compact, 1922, and The Upper Colorado River Basin Compact, 1948, are the legal documents that allow Colorado to keep and manage its rightful share of Colorado River water (51%) in perpetuity.  Colorado has not yet fully developed its allotment of Colorado River  water.  Using our senior GVWUA water shares to "fill Lake Powell" is a breach of Federal law.


9.  Mark Harris has repeatedly put forward the  fear tactic that the GVWUA water rights are  inferior and we need a" place at the table" for security. Not so. The GVWUA water rights are 2nd only to the water rights associated with the Shoshone Power Plant in Glenwood Canyon.  

 In The Colorado Compact, Article VIII  reads "Present perfected rights to the beneficial use of waters of the Colorado River System are unimpaired by this compact." Precompact water, water adjudicated prior to 1922  is not subject to a Compact Call, ie drought. The Shares of The Grand Valley Water Users Association are precompact and that's  what makes them very valuable.

The Articles of Incorporation of the GVWUA,  the water laws of the State of Colorado and Federal law has been breached by the manager, Mark Harris, Legal Counsel Kirsten Kurath and the Board of Directors.

What are we paying Mark Harris and the Board of Directors of the Grand Valley Water Users Association's to do? 

Take care of the canals and laterals, NOT to set up an ILLEGAL WATER MARKETING program that puts OUR SENIOR WATER RIGHTS AT RISK!

Where there isn't  transparency you can be sure illegal activities abound.

My goal is to keep our water!
The state boards that control our water, Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado River District,  know about the illegal fallowing project and are aiding  with grants and rulings. 

 After all when you write the rules it's not illegal, right

Marketing GVWUA Water

Colorado water law anti speculation clause C.R.S. Article XVI section 5

In the grant application 

WaterSMART: Water Marketing Strategy Grants for Funding Year 2017

applied for in the name of The Grand Valley Water Users Association it states:

"Mark Harris, General Manager – GVWUA, has been working on water marketing since he

began working as General Manager of GVWUA."

Why market water?    Big Bucks!    Water is the new oil!


The 1922 Colorado River Compact protects our water from California, Nevada and Arizona.  It divides the Upper Colorado Region from the Lower Colorado Region. In 97 years there has not been a Compact Call. During that time there have been substantial droughts. 

Colorado 's Prior Appropriation water laws make it  costly and difficult to transfer water shares.

The Grand Valley Water Users Association Articles of Incorporation protect our shares of water from buy and dry and transferring our water to another basin through diversions to Eastern Colorado.

Everything that protects our water is under attack.   Our Association, the State Boards and the

Federal Bureaucracy all want to control our water for their own power and greed.

Who wants our water?

Eastern Colorado

With the enlargement of Gross Reservoir by Northern Water ( a coalition of six Northern Colorado cities: Boulder, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Greeley, Longmont and Loveland) in Boulder County underway  and plans to build the Chimney Hollow Dam and Reservoir in Larimer County,  called the Windy Gap Firming Project,  more West Slope water will be illegally diverted to the Front Range of Colorado.

Our senior agriculture shares and Shoshone Power Plant water rights are wanted by the EASTERN COLORADO  MUNICIPALITIES.



See Historical documents tab.

Water diversion from the Western Slope was addressed by the Federal  Government in Senate Document 80, 1937.

 The Blue River Stipulation and Decree, 1955, addressed Colorado's East vs West transmountain diversions.

It's not drought that is effecting the quality and quantity of the Colorado River supply.  It's the 27 TRANSMOUNTAIN DIVERSIONS and California taking more than their allotted amount! 



Governor Hickenlooper endorses stealing more water from Western Colorado and so does Senator Cory Gardner.

This link no longer works but the title says it all.  See what Cory Gardner says about the project under News on the navigation bar.

Water our past & our future

The water rights of the Grand  Valley Water Users Association are among the oldest in the State of Colorado.  Colorado water law is based on prior appropriation, first in time is first in right.

             Our senior water rights are GOLD.

The people who came to the Grand Valley in the late 1800's saw the great potential in this valley for agriculture. Through hard work, with shovels and horse drawn equipment the farmers and ranchers, dug the canals and laterals to carry the life giving water to their crops, orchards and livestock.   Through cooperation they, the farmers and ranchers, setup the Grand Valley Water Users Association that allows us to enjoy the agricultural life that has been going on in this valley for 110 years.

Agriculture is a calling to those who do it. Most of the farm/ranch businesses in our valley are owned and operated by families. The ability to have an agrarian business and lifestyle should not be killed by illegal activities that benefit a few, including the Board of Directors and 

Mark Harris (manager of GVWUA).

 Mark Harris and the current Board of Directors who are interested in MARKETING  our senior water rights need to be stopped. It is against our Articles of Incorporation, Colorado law and Federal law.


60% of the Colorado rivers headwaters are diverted east




580,000 acre feet of water is diverted from the Western Slope of Colorado through 27 Transmountain Diversions annually to  Denver, Boulder and beyond. They have 60% of the headwaters of the Colorado River and want more.


West Slope agriculture using 80% of the water from the Colorado River is a lie. The Eastern municipalities are already taking 60% of the headwaters of the Colorado River through 27 diversions.

 100 %  Colorado River headwaters

-60% Transmountain Diversions to Eastern Colorado

= 40% left for Western Slope Agriculture AND COLORADO RIVER COMPACT COMPLIANCE! 

If you take more from the Colorado River headwaters send it east through a pipe to fill  Gross Reservoir and Chimney Hollow Reservoir, how do you meet  the Colorado River Compact Compliance?  

ANSWER: You Don't!  It's not about Compact Compliance.

It's about control of OUR WATER.

Why is Western Colorado unaware of this critical issue?

The Managers and Board of Directors of the Grand Valley Project, Grand Valley Water Users, Orchard Mesa Irrigation District, Palisade Irrigation District and Mesa County Irrigation District, are working through closed board meetings. Not allowing information on these issues to be passed on to the shareholders or public. 

The local media including TV and newspapers are aiding the illegal activity by not telling the full story or giving misinformation, lying in both cases.


Through social media and talking to our neighbors we can get the TRUTH OUT!

Wall of Shame - using public trust and funds to undermine

Grand Valley Cooperators

People who live in the Grand Valley and are participating in the diversion and marketing of Western Colorado's water rights.

Mark Harris, Manager of GVWUA

Luke Gingerich, J U B Engineering

Mark Hermandstad, Esq, Kirstin Kurath, Esq, Janie VanWinkle, Colorado Cattleman's Association Representative 

Max Schmidt, Manager Orchard Mesa Irr. Dist.

 Mel Rettig, Bruce Talbot

State Appointed/ ElectedOfficials

 They know and are involved. Shame on you 

Former Governor Hickenlooper,

Eric Kuhn- Former Director Colorado River District

Andy Mueller- Director Colorado River District

Colorado Water Conservation Board

Colorado Attorney General Office, 

Mike King- Dept of Natural Resources, 

Kevin Rein - Colorado State Engineer, 

CSU Extension Service

Federal Government

Bureau of Reclamation,

James Eklund- Colorado Representative, Upper Colorado River Commission, Grand Junction office of the NRCS

US Senator Cory Gardner, Colorado

Grand Valley Water Users Board of Directors 2017

The fox guarding the hen house!

 President Joseph C Bernal, Arthur Donoho,

 Victor Thopmson, Carol Traynor, D Kim Albertson, Andrew Arpke, Melvin Crider, Marty Basinger,

 Troy Latham, John Potter, Troy Waters

The Board members participated in and received payment for the fallowing project also known as Conserved Consumptive Use Pilot Project (CCUPP). According to Colorado State Law (CRS 7-128-501 - "conflicting interest transaction" means: a contract, transaction or other financial relationship between a nonprofit corporation and a director of the nonprofit corporation) THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS ARE ENGAGED  IN CONFLICT OF INTEREST ACCORDING TO COLORADO LAW.


 The problem is not limited to GVWUA. 

Other water associations/districts in the Grand Valley not allowing shareholders to be involved in decisions or attend board of directors meetings as required by state law CRS 37-41-114 - All meetings of the board must be public).  

The elected/ appointed officials at the State level and the government workers at the Federal level are again looking out for their own interests and/or political agendas, not following the rule of law or redefining law to fit their agenda.

The associations, districts, government, elected or appointed positions, who are there to lookout for the interests of the water shareholders and citizens of Colorado, are in fact doing the opposite. Assessments collected from the water shareholders  are being used to pay  the wages of the managers who  are working to market our water rights!

Water Association/Districts in who are providing in-kind services and $$ to fund illegal fallowing

 Grand Valley Water Users Association - without the knowledge or consent of the shareholders!

Orchard Mesa Irrigation District

Palisade Irrigation District

The Southwest Water Conservation District

Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association 

Ute Water Conservancy