who on the Colorado River has senior shares?

Shoshone Power Plant

This is the Number 1 right on the Colorado River adjudicated 1907.

The Grand Valley's Senior Water Rights

 GVWUA - 2/27/1908

Orchard Mesa Irr. Dist. - 10/25/1907

Palisade - 10/1/1889

Mesa County Irr. Dist. -7/6/1903

Collectively known as the Grand Valley Project.

We owe a debt of thanks to the men who set up the GVWUA in 1907. They were farmers and ranchers who understood the importance of water and it allows us to live and work the land 110 years later.

Who's Junior to GVWUA

Everyone between Denver and California!  

There are 27 TRANSMOUNTAIN DIVERSIONS that take West Slope water to the Front Range. All are junior to the GVWUA water rights. If there were to be a Compact Call on the Colorado River all the Front Range diversions will be CUT OFF!


Colorado water law is simple!

Creating a water right in Colorado

1. Water  is diverted from the stream or river.

2. An appropriation occurs when a person puts the diverted water to beneficial use.

3. Adjudication is the legal work that sets the priority date and the beneficial use.


 Grand Valley Water Users Association

Diversion - Colorado River  

Near Grand Junction, the Roller Dam, also called the Grand Valley Diversion Dam, is located 

above Plateau Creek on the Colorado River.

 The Roller Dam delivers water for 55 miles to the south and west via the Government Highline 

Canal (the Highline Canal). The Highline Canal diverts approximately 1,560 cfs each irrigation season.  More than half of this water is diverted to the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District , Mesa County Irrigation District, and Palisade Irrigation District through other canal systems. The remaining 720 cfs continues down Highline Canal into the irrigated project area served by the GVWUA.


The prior appropriation system is mandated by Colorado law. The appropriation is for a specific use (irrigation) and begins when the water is put to that beneficial use. 

Water users with earlier water rights

 have seniority and better rights

 in times of short supply.

Appropriation Dates in the Grand Valley

GVWUA - 2/27/1908

Orchard Mesa Irr. Dist. - 10/25/1907

Palisade - 10/1/1889

Mesa County Irr. Dist. -7/6/1903

Collectively known as the Grand Valley Project.

Grand Valley Irrigation Co. - 4/26/1914

Beneficial Use

Actual application of water to a beneficial use creates a water right.

GVWUA beneficial use - IRRIGATION

IRRIGATION of crops and pastures

stock watering.

 A water right is to protect the owner from  unforeseen future circumstances.


Starting with an 1879 statute the Colorado General Assembly assigned the duty of setting water right priority dates and amounts to the courts. The date the legal frame work was made permanent by the court is the adjudication date. It sets the priority of the water right.

Adjudication date of the 

Grand Valley Water Users Association



Adjudication date of

Grand Valley Irrigation Company


Shoshone Power Plant , Glenwood Canyon

No. 1 water right - Adjudication date


Colorado Water Law is simple!

Prior Appropriation - First in time, first in right.

Beneficial Use - The water must be put to beneficial use  in the manner in which it was appropriated, irrigation is the appropriation of the GVWUA.

Adjudication - The legal frame work done through the Colorado water court to set  the priority dates and amounts.