Prior Appropriation and How It Shaped the West with Hon. Gregory Hobbs, Jr. (Ret.)

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Recently retired from the Colorado Supreme Court, Justice Greg Hobbs joins The Water Values Podcast to share his knowledge of western water law, specifically the doctrine of prior appropriation and its impact on how the West developed. Justice Hobbs uses his deep and broad knowledge of water law to explain how the doctrine of prior appropriation developed, stretching his explanation of water in the West all the way back to the reservoirs the inhabitants of Mesa Verde used and up through the Spanish and Mexican influences in the West. He provides an eye-opening analysis of water law and contrasts differing versions of prior appropriation (Colorado with California; court adjudicated rights versus administratively granted rights). Finally, Justice Hobbs discusses his involvement with the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and its many programs.

In this session, you’ll learn about:

  • What the doctrine of prior appropriation is
  • Why the doctrine of prior appropriation is an economic policy at its core
  • How water law developed in the West
  • How water law, specifically the doctrine of prior appropriation, impacted development in the West
  • Why certain water rights pre-exist statehood
  • How Mexican and Spanish influences are present in the doctrine of prior appropriation
  • The difference between prior appropriation in Colorado versus California
  • The difference in systems between court-adjudicated water rights and administratively granted water rights
  • How a water right is established in Colorado, a court adjudicated system
  • How water is used multiple times as it moves through a system pursuant to the doctrine of prior appropriation
  • How John Wesley Powell viewed water and its relation to development in the West
  • Who came up with the idea for using the U.S. Constitution’s compact framework to establish interstate water appropriation agreements
  • How interstate compacts for water appropriation work
  • Some current interstate controversies
  • The Colorado Foundation for Water Education and its diverse publication and program offerings

Resources and links mentioned in or relevant to this session include:

Transcript

Click here to download the Transcript for Session 70 of The Water Values Podcast.

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2 thoughts on “Prior Appropriation and How It Shaped the West with Hon. Gregory Hobbs, Jr. (Ret.)

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