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Home Careers Job Descriptions Water Referee
Water Referee

Water Referee Job Description

Job Title: Water Referee
Job Code: 450600
Job Series: Water Referee
FLSA Status: Excluded
OCC Group: Professional Services (PS)

Signature of the State Court Administrator approval available on file in the Human Resources Division.

General Statement Of Duties:
Performs a variety of duties related to the complex matters of water rights and administration in the Colorado Judicial System including investigating applications for water rights, deciding the merits of applications, analyzing laws and rules, making findings of fact and conclusions of law and issuing oral or written decisions and orders to resolve water cases.  May provide administrative direction.  Some positions will have supervisory responsibility.
Distinguishing Factors:
The Water Referee renders expert opinions and decisions on the complex matters of water rights and administration.  The Referee actively investigates applications for water rights, and the applications will remain in front of the Referee to disposition unless the case is re-referred to the Water Judge prior to entry of a ruling.  The Water Referee rules upon determinations of water rights and conditional water rights, plans for augmentation, exchanges, findings of reasonable diligence in the development of appropriations under conditional water rights, changes to water rights, cases arising from decennial abandonment lists if referred to the Referee by the Water Judge, and determinations of abandonment of water rights or cancellation of conditional water rights.
The Water Referee works under the supervision of the Water Judge or the Chief Judge of the Judicial District. The Water Referee serves in a classified, non-certified position that is considered at-will and may be terminated at any time with or without cause.
Essential Functions Of the Position:
Acts pursuant to the authorities granted by statute, which include but are not limited to the more specific functions and duties listed below:
Exhibits knowledge of water law and water court procedure;
Performs technical investigations in matters brought before them utilizing independent fact finding; field investigations; consultation with outside agencies; geographical resources; map reading and interpretation; and utilizing Colorado Revised Statutes and Colorado court rules, state engineer rules, county records, court rulings, and compliance with existing decrees.
Determines whether or not the statements in the applications for water rights and the statements of opposition are true.  Becomes fully advised with respect to the subject matter of the applications and statements of opposition;
Conducts independent investigations which may include site visits to the property, requests for engineering reports, maps and analysis, supplemental engineering, and communication with State water administration officials, applicants, and opposers for clarification;
Consults with the division engineer and may create joint summaries of the consultations;
Ensures sufficient evidence is provided by the applicant to meet the burden of proof;
Considers evidence including: legal descriptions, capacities of ponds, number of acres irrigated, consumptive use requirements, surface evaporation rates, operable plan for augmentation, existence of valid well permits, exchange potential, water availability analysis, other relevant permits issued to satisfy can and will, and other evidence to support the claims made in the application or statements of opposition;
Relies upon prior decrees that pertain to the subject water right;
Holds status conferences;
Issues requests for additional information;
Presides over hearings, drafts decrees, and enters rulings;
Handles proceedings in a timely and effective manner; rules on motions and matters under advisement in a timely manner;
Enforces orders in all proceedings by the use of contempt of court when appropriate.
Acts as a master appointed pursuant to CRCP53.
May determine motions relating to disclosure and discovery.
Attends meetings and training as required.
Performs other duties as assigned.
Supervisor Responsibilities:
This position requires administrative responsibility for the operation of a judicial division including supervisory accountability for division staff, volunteers, or interns. Plans, directs and coordinates activities for a judicial division. Additional duties include scheduling and assigning work, training in all facets of a judicial division’s operation, quality control, decision impacting the pay, status and tenure of staff, conducting performance appraisals and providing input into and participating in discipline, hiring and dismissal of staff.
Minimum Education:
Persons appointed as water referees shall possess such training and experience as to qualify them to render expert opinions and decisions on the complex matters of water rights and administration.   Each water referee shall be appointed by the Water Judge of the water division from a list of not less than three qualified persons to be submitted to the Water Judge by the Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources.
Physical Demands:
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit and talk or hear. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
Work Environment:
This position is subject to many interruptions and may be required to handle multiple calls and inquiries at once. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
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