Substitute Water Supply Plans & Administrative Approvals

Substitute Water Supply Plans

Substitute Water Supply Plans (SWSPs) are temporary approvals by the State Engineer of changes of water right, out-of-priority diversions and augmentation plans. SWSPs are usually limited to operating for one year. Authority to approve SWSPs is found in Section 37-92-308, C.R.S. The following types of SWSPs are considered pursuant to Section 308

  • 308(4) - Associated with water court application
  • 308(5) - Not associated with water court application
  • 308(7) - Emergency affecting public health or safety (91 day approval)
  • 308(12) - Agricultural water protection, associated with a water court approval 

For more information, see the SWSP Matrix below.

In addition, the State Engineer approves SWSPs for sand and gravel mining operations pursuant to Section 37-90-137(11), C.R.S.  A report showing all active SWSPs approved pursuant to both 37-92-308 and 37-90-137(11) is available through Colorado Information Marketplace (CIM). 

Notification List 

The SWSP Notification List was developed to provide subscribers with notice of new applications for approval. The notice consists of an email from the applicant.  To subscribe to the SWSP Notification List, sign-on to your Notification Online Account or register for a new notification account.  Once you have a Notification Online Account, you can manage the notification lists you wish to subscribe to by selecting the Divisions of interest for SWSP notification. 

Administrative Approvals

In addition to SWSPs, the following are water operations that receive written approval from DWR. Some of the approvals allow operation for a term of less than a year and some are for longer operation.

Agriculture to Agriculture Irrigation Loans
  • Loan on the same stream system for no more than 180 days
  • Authorized by Section 37-83-105(1)(a), C.R.S.
Arkansas River Basin, Division 2

Arkansas Irrigation Improvement Rules, Rule 8 and 10 Plans

  • Allows surface water irrigation efficiency measures such as changes from flood to sprinkler, canal sealing, and lateral lining etc. to occur without violation of the Arkansas River Compact.
  • Rule 8 and 10 Plans are reviewed and approved in accordance with the Compact Rules Governing Improvements to Surface Water Irrigation Systems in the Arkansas River Basin in Colorado (Irrigation Improvement Rules), approved in Division 2 case no. 09CW110.  

Important Links:


Arkansas Use Rules, Arkansas River Replacement Plans, Rule 14 Plans

Important Links:

Fallowing-Leasing Pilot Projects

Section 37-60-115(8), C.R.S., authorized the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to approve a limited number of pilot projects to test the efficacy of fallowing-leasing as an alternative to permanent agricultural dry-up. Under the criteria and guidelines established by the CWCB, up to ten separate pilot projects, each lasting up to ten years in duration, could be selected to test the practice of fallowing irrigated agricultural land and leasing the associated water rights for temporary municipal, agricultural, environmental, industrial, or recreation use. The period to apply for a pilot project ended on December 31, 2018.

Important Links:

Instream Flow Loans
  • Approval to loan water to Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) for use as an instream flow for no more than 120 days and for no more than five years in a 10 year period.
  • Authorized by Section 37-83-105(2)(a), C.R.S., approval in conjunction with CWCB.

Important Links:

Interruptible Water Supply Agreements (IWSA)
  • Approval to loan water for a change in point of diversion, location of use, and/or type of use for no more than three years in a 10 year period.
  • Authorized by Section 37-92-309, C.R.S., further guided by IWSA Rules.

Important Links:

Rio Grande Basin, Division 3

Division 3 Annual Replacement Plans

  • Subdistrict 1, Authorized by the decree in case nos. 06CV64 & 07CW52, Water Division No. 3. 
  • Subdistrict 2 & Subdistrict 3, Authorized by Rules Governing the Withdrawal of Groundwater in Water Division No. 3.

Important Links:

Important Links