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Home Self Help Filing an Application in Water Court
Home Self Help Filing an Application in Water Court
Filing an Application in Water Court
These standard instructions are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice about your case. If you choose to represent yourself, you are bound by the same rules and procedures as an attorney.

  • How do I file an application in water court?
    • 1. Decide what kind of application you want to file.
      • * The type of application you file with the court will depend on what you are trying to do (for example:  applying for a new water right, applying to change a water right, etc.).

        * Review the water forms and instructions in order to determine which form you need based on your situation.

        * You can also refer to the Non-Attorney's Guide to Colorado Water Courts for additional information.

        * NOTE: The water court process can be very complicated. You may want to seek the advice of an attorney before you get started.

    • 2. Determine what you need to prove.
      • * When you file an application with the court, there are certain things you will need to prove depending on what type of application you file.

        * For example, in a new water right case you need to prove the source of the water, the location of the point of diversion, the date of appropriation, the amount of water to be diverted, and the beneficial use to which the water will be placed.

        * Review your application form to see what information you will need to provide.  Go to the water forms page to review the various forms.

        * You can also review the Non-attorney's Guide to Colorado Water Courts for additional information.

    • 3. Identify where to file your application.
      • * Your completed application must be filed in the water court division where the water matter is located.  There are 7 different water court divisions.  Go to page 3 of JDF 295W Instructions for all Colorado Water Court Divisions to find the location of each division in order to determine where your application should be filed.

    • 4. Fill out the correct forms.
      • * Go to the water forms page to determine which form(s) you need to file based on your situation.

        * You should also review form JDF 295W Instructions for All Colorado Water Court Divisions and the Non-Attorney's Guide to Colorado Water Courts for more information about the forms and the information you need to provide.

        * You will be referred to as the "Applicant" on the application form.

        * You must sign your completed application in front of a Notary Public or court clerk. You can find a Notary Public by looking in the Yellow Pages, on the internet, or by going to your local bank.

        * When you file your completed form(s), the court will collect a filing fee.  If you do not think you can afford the filing fee, go to the instructions and fill out form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit and the caption box of JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees to request a waiver of the filing fee.  You can either take your forms to the court to file them in person and pay the filing fee (if the fee is not waived), or you can mail the forms to the court along with the filing fee (if the fee is not waived).  After you file your forms, the court will assign a case number.

    • 5. Notify affected landowners.
      • * Within 14 days after you file your application with the court, you must send a copy of the application by certified or registered mail to any landowners who may be affected by your application, including the owner of the land upon which any new diversion, or storage structure, or modification to any existing diversion or storage structure or storage pool is or will be constructed, or upon which water is or will be stored.

        * After you send a copy of the application by certified or registered mail, fill out JDF 290W Certificate of Notice and file it with the court.  Attach any certified or registered mail receipts.  The Certificate of Notice is also included as the last page of each application form.



    • 6. Prepare a water resume.
      • * A water resume is a document that summarizes what you are requesting in your application. Each month, the court clerk gathers all of the water resumes for each month and publishes them in an area newspaper. Check with the court to determine whether you need to prepare the water resume or if the court will prepare one for you.

        * The court will send your water resume to the newspaper to be published and you will be billed directly for the cost. After your water resume is published in the newspaper, and after you pay for the publication, the newspaper will send you an "Affidavit of Publication" (or "Proof of Publication") and an original copy of your published water resume. You must file these documents with the court to prove that your water resume was published.

    • 7. Identify the next steps in the process.
      • * After you file your application there are certain events and deadlines that you will need to be aware of, depending on your specific situation.  For example, if your application is opposed the process will be more complicated than if there is no opposition to your application.

        * Review Section Five of the Non-Attorney's Guide to Colorado Water Courts for general information about the process after your application is filed and for some important deadlines.

        * If you are having difficulty understanding what is required of you throughout the process, you should speak to an attorney.



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