(March 2) – Rep. Jeni Arndt, D-Fort Collins, won the House Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee’s support this afternoon for her bill to support healthy rivers.

HB15-1159 would provide $2 million in tax credits to water right holders who permanently donate their water rights to the state of Colorado to be left in the stream. In-stream uses sustain local wildlife habitats.

The bill continues a program first authorized by a 2009 law, but removes impediments that prevented anyone from donating a water right under the 2009 law.

“I’m trying to get to the intent of the 2009 law, which was to provide a viable alternative for water conservation just as we already provide for land conservation through the conservation easement program,” Rep. Arndt said.

Under her bill, individuals could claim 50 percent of the value of their water right, up to $250,000. The state will have to demonstrate in water court that the donation will not injure other water right holders.

After today’s 7-6 vote, the bill goes to the Finance Committee.

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