Non-Consumptive Water Rights as a Landscape Conservation Tool

Margot’s independent policy analysis investigates the governance structures in Colorado that allowed non-consumptive water rights to be claimed by private entities and how this has impacted the regional landscape. Non-consumptive, or in-stream water rights, ensure that at the location where the rights are claimed, the amount of water will not change in quality or quantity due to upstream uses. The policy mechanism that permitted this was only briefly available in Colorado, but Margot is investigating the influence these non-consumptive rights claims may still be having on the landscape and their efficacy to be used as a conservation tool. Colorado and the American West is facing increasing water shortages due to increasing demands and climate threatened supplies. Exploring various water rights mechanisms and different options for landowners in Colorado will assist in identifying water-use approaches that could be used address these challenges.


Rocky Mountain Biological Lab


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Margot Buckelew, Western Resources Fellow and Research Assistant | Margot is a Master’s of Environmental Management candidate focusing on water resources. She is interested in studying urban water quantity planning and policy development while at Yale. Before graduate school, Margot became inspired by the western landscape while spending time in Colorado working on mayflies, and working on steel head research in Washington. See what Margot has been up to.  |  Blog