This water right, also referred to as the Refill Right, was obtained by the District in 1990 (Case No. 86CW203). The total amount of the water right decreed to the reservoir is 106,230 acre-feet. The refill right has an appropriation date of August 28, 1975 and a priority date of December 31, 1985. Of the total decreed in 1990, 44,700 acre-feet was decreed absolute and 61,530 feet conditional. While the water is impounded in Taylor Park Reservoir, it is decreed for use for recreational purposes, including fishery and wildlife. The decree further provides that the impounded water shall be released at times and in quantities calculated to enhance the fishery and recreational uses of the Taylor and Gunnison Rivers above Blue Mesa Reservoir. Of the total amount of the 1990 decree, 19,200 acre-feet (13,777 acre-feet absolute and 5,423 conditional) has the additional use for increased and supplemental irrigation within the District. The decree provides administration and accounting for storage and release of water in the reservoir (Schedule A).
The District assigned the Refill Right to the United States by an Assignment executed by the District and the United States in April, 1993. The Assignment was made pursuant to an agreement signed by the District, the Colorado River Water Conservation District, the UVWUA and the United States on April 16, 1990 (1990 Agreement). The 1990 Agreement provides that:
The United States shall continue to use and hold the water rights for the adjudicated purposes subject to the 1975 Agreement or any subsequent operational agreement between the United States, Gunnison District, Colorado District and the Association.
Thus, even though the United States is the owner of the Refill Right, it is contractually obligated to “use and hold” that right for fishery, recreation, flood control and irrigation purposes for the benefit of the District.
In May of 2016, the conditional portion of the Refill Right was made absolute in Case No. 11CW31. The Refill Right was modified slightly to provide for additional uses in Case No. 2015CW3064 signed by the water court judge on December 28, 2016.