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Definition for

Water Right

A water right is a private property right in the State of Colorado that establishes in what priority a water user may use water for a beneficial purpose. The priority in which someone can divert water to put it to a beneficial use is granted by the water courts in the State of Colorado. A water right allows diversion of a certain amount of water, in a specified order among other water users, from a certain point along a body of water and for a specified purpose. The older, or more senior, the water right, the fewer other water users whose needs must be satisfied before the user is allowed to divert water. The younger, or more junior, the water right, the greater number of senior water rights that must be satisfied before a junior right can divert water. As private property, water rights can be bought, sold, inherited, traded, exchanged, donated or otherwise disposed of as the owner sees fit. The value of the right is based primarily upon its seniority, which dictates how likely the right will produce water when supply is limited.

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