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Ranchers Review Options After Ruling In Water Case

DENVER (AP) — Some Custer County ranchers say they don’t know what’s next after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled against them in a water case.

At issue is the Beardsley Decree of 1908, in which ranchers George Beardsley and Allen Bates agreed to let each take turns exercising their rights to water from Alvarado Creek and the North Fork of Alvarado Creek. The deal settled Beardsley’s complaint over using his water rights on a stream system without enough water to fulfill everyone’s rights.

Rancher John Brandenburg challenged the decree, and a water court voided it in 2000, saying public notice of the settlement wasn’t given. Notice is required when water rights change.

The Colorado Supreme Court reversed that ruling in December, saying the decree didn’t sanction a change in the water rights themselves.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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