By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – Lake Riviera is a hidden gem in southwest Denver. It has 17 acres of fishing, boating and skating right out the back door.

lake riviera 3 Water Rights Lawsuit Filed Over Lake Riviera, A Denver Gem

(credit: CBS)

A lawsuit has been filed by several homeowners against a real estate agent claiming they were mislead to believe they own the water in the lake they live on.

lake riviera 1 Water Rights Lawsuit Filed Over Lake Riviera, A Denver Gem

Nick Hodgdon (credit: CBS)

Nick Hodgdon is one of those. He has a back deck and a pool that overlooks the lake.

“Very unique. Most people don’t even know this exists,” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

But there is now a dispute over whether the rights to the lake’s water is really theirs.

“What’s the worst case scenario?” Sallinger asked Hodgdon.

“That we have a big mud pile in the back of our house instead of a lake,” Hodgdon replied.

lake riviera 5 Water Rights Lawsuit Filed Over Lake Riviera, A Denver Gem

(credit: CBS)

lake riviera 2 Water Rights Lawsuit Filed Over Lake Riviera, A Denver Gem

(credit: CBS)

That would mean not much use for the docks and boats that sit outside the more than 30 houses here.

Hodgdon says there was never any doubt about the rights to the lake.

“I understood that we had the rights to use the water for anything we wanted to use it for.”

But the state engineer from the Colorado Division of Water Resources, Kevin Rein, tells CBS4 they are looking into the rights. He says the lake got water from Bear Creek which the homeowners may have the rights for, but also Clear Creek which they may not have the right to store water in the lake.

lake riviera 4 Water Rights Lawsuit Filed Over Lake Riviera, A Denver Gem

Dennis Witte (credit: CBS)

Dennis Witte is not suing, but lives on the lake. He says this will get resolved one way or the other.

“It’s going to cost a certain amount of money to solve the problem and then whatever that amount of money is all of us homeowners are going to have to pick up the tab.”

The real estate agent, Steve Travers, who lives in the area, wrote a statement to CBS4 reading, “We take seriously the allegations being made, but stand firm that these accusations are unfounded.”

This body of water is the pride, the joy and lifestyle of this neighborhood.

Sallinger asked Witte: “Is this lake going to go away?”

“No. We’ll solve it somehow. It’s just how much money we’ll spend,” he said.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s