OCID is calling a Board Meeting on June 6th at 5:30PM, at the Town of Orchard City Community Room, to discuss Potential Allocation Changes and anything else that comes before the board. 

In the mean time you should check out the water ordering form HERE!

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Dictionary of Water Terms

Acre-Foot (af): An acre foot of water is the amount of water required to cover one acre to a depth of one foot. Acre-feet of water is typically used to measure stored water such as the water being held in Fruitgrower Reservoir.

Acres for OCID: Acres of land in OCID irrigation water as subscribed to the property deed.

Allotment of water: The water availability is determined by the natural precipitation on the Grand Mesa watershed and is calculated by the Colorado Office of the State Engineer from the winter snowpack. The water allocation for OCID is determined by the OCID board at an open meeting and is based on the fill of Fruitgrowers Reservoir. The amount allotted per acre will vary with weather conditions and may be cut proportionately in dry years at the discretion of the OCID board.

Assessment: An assessment, established by the board, is proportionally based on the annual budget for the upcoming year divided by the number of acres in the system. It covers the estimated costs of repair and maintenance, as well as employee wages. Additional fees may be added to cover specific and unusual repairs to the system.

Associations: Neighbors who work together in a common delivery of water, allowing the group to have water delivered more efficiently. Usually, one individual takes responsibility for communications with the water superintendent and the ditch rider.

Cubic Foot per Second (cfs): Flow water is typically measured in cfs where a cubic foot of water is delivered every second. This is approximately equal to 450 gallons per minute (gpm). One cfs over 24 hours is also approximately equal to two acre-feet of water.

Decree Water: Water rights filed with the State of Colorado by the original filer, as a flow of a specified allotted amount from a specific source. Decrees are separated as Senior and Junior rights, 1st decree to 100th decree in order of filing. When users call for water, the lowest decree number is filled first as the senior right, followed by junior rights, in numerical order.

Delivery System: A ditch company incorporated to manage and maintain the delivery system from the source of water to the headgates of private laterals. These are known as the Butte Ditch and Fogg Ditch Companies.

Ditch Rider: A person hired and authorized by a ditch company, to maintain the non-private part of the ditch system, turn the water through the headgate, and monitor water delivery through a weir.

Easement: A prescriptive easement exists on all ditches for the maintenance of the ditches for efficient running of water. Building setbacks may be required by some ditch companies, and a 50 ft setback is a Department of Health requirement for septic systems. It is the inherent right of a water user or ditch rider to access and properly maintain a prescribed ditch for delivery of water. The easement from the center of the ditch may vary with each ditch company.

Flow Water: Water that is delivered directly to water owners without being stored in a reservoir. Flow water is often associated with decree water in creeks and other flowing sources of water.

Grand Mesa Reservoir Water: Shares of Grandby, Leon Lake, Sackett, Trickle park, Weir and Johnson, Surface Creek Ditch & Reservoir, or other companies owned by users. Shares of water may be bought and sold, leased or rented by the general public. Shares of reservoir water are moved through Fruitgrowers Reservoir or a ditch company’s delivery system for private use.

Grand Mesa Water Users Association: The GMWUA administers the reservoir water the Grand Mesa watershed, that has been allocated by the state engineer. GMWUA is a legal entity with a board of directors elected from the Grand Mesa reservoir companies. Orders for shares of Grand Mesa reservoir water are taken Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 2pm at 856-3165.

Headgate: A gated outlet to private lateral, ditch, or pipeline; it is maintained by the user of the water. It is located ahead of the volume measuring device (weir) and is regulated by the ditch rider.

Irrigation District - statutorily defined as: "[A] public organization that supplies water to residents of the district through diversions, canals, laterals, pipes and other water transport systems primarily for the purpose of agricultural irrigation." (Colorado River District, 2019)

Maintenance: Removal of refuse such as trash, weeds, trees, and dirt through the use of the easement. Fences need to be maintained such that they do not impede the flow of water. The ditch company maintains the ditches from the water source to the point of delivery to the headgate. The water users maintain the private laterals and ditches from the headgate to the point of discharge into another lateral ditch or waste ditch.

NRCS: Natural Resources Conversation Service. It is a part of U.S. Department of Agriculture, which aids landowners in making improvements in water & land management. Phone: 970-249-8407.

PAM: A material known as Polyacrylamide; it is used to bind soil and reduce percolation losses in ponds and ditches.

Private lateral: A dirt ditch, cement ditch or pipeline served by a headgate, that is used by one or more stockholders jointly. Once the company delivery ditch reaches the headgate, the stockholders are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the remaining system.

Purchase, Lease, or Transfer: Any assessments on OCID or ditch company users, must be paid before any transfers or leases of irrigation water are made. OCID acre shares are prescribed in the deed and stay with the land. Any division of the property requires the total amount of acre feet be accounted for. Leasing of water is done between parties, in writing, and placed on file with the superintendent. Additional irrigation water may be rented through the GMWUA.

Salinity: Addition of calcium or magnesium salts to water, due to percolation of water through Mancos soils. Commonly found in tail water and measured by conductivity.

Selenium: A natural element found in the Mancos or adobe soils of the western slope of Colorado. Concentrations of this element in specific plants has detrimental effects on animals.

Stockholder: A property owner who owns shares of a ditch company. Each stockholder is given one vote per share at the meetings of the ditch company. OCID does not have stock and operates basis of acres deeded with the land.

Shrinkage: Water that is lost from the system through the normal transfer of water. This can be due to evaporation, percolation, or misuse. In dry years, the state engineer may levy shrinkage to OCID in delivering a specified amount of water. OCID may pass this loss to the user.

State Water Commission: The first priority of the state engineer is to constantly measure the flow of the natural springs that feed the reservoirs and establish the decree allotment. The state engineer turns the water from the reservoirs. The state water commissioner is available at 856-3527 to answer questions.

Surface Creek Shares: See Grand Mesa Reservoir water.

Tail Water: Water leaving an irrigated field must be maintained until it falls into a lateral ditch downstream, such that it does not harm property below. The ditch rider reserves the right to terminate water delivery to a private ditch if lack of maintenance is detrimental to other property.

Weir: A measuring device installed in a ditch to measure a constant volume of water to a private lateral, ditch, or pipeline. A flume, usually designed of metal with a constriction in the center, and a measurement in the upper gathering portion. Weirs are installed by the water users under the direction of the ditch company.


Information courtesy of 2003 Orchard City Irrigation District Partnership in Water Management Brochure, published by J. Magnuson

Irrigation district definition courtesy of Colorado River District. "Glossary of Terms - Water." Colorado River District, Colorado River District, 15 Mar. 2019, Glossary of Terms.