|Bridge to main entrance.|
|The North Boulder Farmers' Ditch entering the property.|
|The modernist building straddles the ditch.|
|Is it a coincidence that the Dairy Center for the Arts lies on the other side of this fence?|
Riparian rights means that the owners of land adjacent to water share the water equally. Prior appropriation means that the first person to put the water to "beneficial use" and to file a paper claim to the water owns the water rights.
Eastern states tend to follow Riparian rights. Western states tend to follow prior appropriation or "first in use, first in right" doctrine.
Wildlife doesn't count as beneficial use. Use by native Americans and other non-whites also seldom counts. There's more paper water than real water in the west, particularly during normal and dry years.
This doctrine is being tested right now in California as even senior CA water rights holders there have been ordered to stop drawing water from CA rivers.
I say good riddance. I'm not a fan of John Locke and his worshippers. They have a planet-sized blind spot regarding who does the real work and who reaps the benefits of work. Water and the laws of physics don't give a f*ck about John Locke and neither do I.
A lively history about the St Vrain-Left Hand water war:
The Battle that Wrought Colorado's Water Law