Below find answers to frequently asked questions regarding augmentation of residential groundwater wells in Indian Mountain Subdivision and other helpful information. If the information on this page does not answer your question, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Service is Bar Star Providing?
In Colorado, water is extremely scarce. To provide water to the many competing users, Colorado has developed a complicated legal framework that governs every use of water in the state. This legal framework is often summarized as “first in time, first in right.” In other words, the earliest users of water from Colorado’s rivers and streams have a right to continue their historic use of water at the same place and rate until fully satisfied. In this manner, every water user in the state is “in line” for their turn to use Colorado’s most precious resource.
Your well (or future well) in Indian Mountain is practically in the back of the line to use water. That is because use of a tributary groundwater wells such as yours, causes the flow of Tarryall Creek and the South Platte River to decline, cheating those at the front of the line of water to which they are legally entitled. Stated another way, you are in the same line that the original settlers to this state are in; however, they are in front and you are in the back.
Because you are in the back of the line, you would normally never be able to lawful withdraw groundwater from your well. Luckily, Colorado has developed a way for people at the back of the line to use water while insuring that those in the front are still provided the water they need. The legal term for this system is called an “augmentation plan.” At its most basic level, an augmentation plan replaces the depletions from an individual well directly to the stream that is being depleted by pumping of the well. A separate “replacement source” of water is needed. Most often this means taking irrigation uses at the front of the line out of service permanently, and using that water as a replacement source to offset the depletions caused by well pumping.
Bar Star owns water rights that were originally used for irrigation beginning in the 1800’s. Those water rights have been changed, irrigation has been retired, and Bar Star now uses the water to replace the depletions to the flow of Tarryall Creek and the South Platte River created by well pumping in Indian Mountain subdivision. Bar Star does this by diverting water from Tarryall Creek at times when the water was historically used for irrigation (think the warmer months), storing it in Tarryall Ranch Reservoir, and releasing a portion in the fall and spring in an amount to make up for the amount you use in your well.
Augmentation plans exist across the state allowing countless uses that would not otherwise exist. The cost to purchase senior water rights, the technical research that has to be completed to insure the plan will work as contemplated, changing the water rights to replacement use in Water Court, and annually operating the plan and maintaining the structures that allow it to operate can run into the millions of dollars. Bar Star and its corporate predecessors have put in the time and capital necessary so that the only thing you have to worry about is turning on your faucet and enjoying water service at your property.
We encourage you to learn more about what repair and maintenance projects are funded by your augmentation fees by visiting our O&M page.
Does my well need to be augmented year-round?
Yes. A portion of Bar Star’s water rights are left in the stream during the irrigation season (i.e. the summer months) to offset reductions to the stream caused by pumping your well during that time period. Bar Star diverts water from Tarryall Creek to its reservoir at various times throughout the year and releases it back to the stream when required by the local Water Commissioner to offset reductions to the stream caused by pumping your well during the remainder of the year.
Will you need to access my property to augment my well?
No. Bar Star releases non-potable raw water from its reservoir to offset the depletions to the groundwater table caused by operating your well. Your well withdraws a certain amount of groundwater which eventually causes a reduction in the flow of the South Platte River; Bar Star replaces an equivalent amount of water to the River to make it “whole.” For more information on augmentation plans generally, please visit the Colorado Division of Water Resources website.
Are there any restrictions on the use of my well if I purchase augmentation service from Bar Star Water Company?
Yes. At this time, the W-7389 Decree imposes the following limits on your use of water from your well:
- Water may only be used inside a single family dwelling
- No outside watering of any kind
- No livestock watering of any kind
In sum, purchasing augmentation service from Bar Star Water Company will allow you to provide water to your residence only.
How much replacement water does the plan account for?
Wells covered by Bar Star’s augmentation plan (currently every well in the subdivision) can only be used for indoor, domestic purposes (i.e. sinks, showers, etc.). When Bar Star’s augmentation plan was put in place, it was assumed that each well would use up to 2,055 gallons of water per year. While there is no requirement to install a meter or report individual well usage, it is assumed that each well in the subdivision uses 2,055 gallons of water per year and Bar Star is required to replace this much water to the stream for every well in the subdivision.
Can Bar Star provide augmentation water for my commercial greenhouse or other outbuilding?
Not at this time. Currently the W-7389 decree only allows Bar Star to replace the depletions that result from the operation of domestic, in-house only wells in the Indian Mountain subdivision. However, recent changes to Colorado law provide more flexibility for water rights owners to make additional uses of their water rights. In the future, we hope to provide additional augmentation services, please continue to check our website for more information. Note: property owners are encouraged to review the Indian Mountain subdivision covenants which contain restrictions on the types and uses of structures allowed within the subdivision.
If I sell my property after purchasing an augmentation plan from Bar Star, is it transferable to the new owner?
Yes. All Bar Star augmentation plans are fully transferable ($100 transfer fee) to the new owner of your property. Please inform us of the sale and provide us with the new owners’ contact information.