Water rights – Do you need a Stock Certificate

Most ditches in northwest Colorado deliver water just as they did a hundred years ago and most are organized just like they were back then–water owners either cooperate or argue (or both) over how the water is delivered and managed.  When multiple water users share the same ditch for delivery of water, absent an agreement or company, it’s up to them to work out delivery of their decreed amount.  In times of abundant water, cooperation comes easy but in times of drought….well….it brings to mind the old saying that whiskey’s for drinkin’ and water’s for fightin’…

But back to the organization point.  Some ditches are organized and structured like a corporation and the decreed amount of water to each water right owner is represented by shares. Those shares are conveyed with an actual stock certificate. The ditch company will issue the certificate to the buyer once the seller hands in the seller’s original certificate (along with any other documents required by the company).  If a seller misplaces the stock certificate and cannot find the original, it would require notification to the ditch company and the purchase of a lost certificate bond from an insurance company.  The entire process could take a few months and cost quite a lot of money, so it’s well worth it to keep those water stock certificates in a safe (and unforgettable!) place.