New Online Course Examines Laws Governing Colorado’s Use and Allocation of Water as Critical Natural Resource

Water touches nearly every aspect of life in semi-arid states like Colorado. Starting in August, the Division of Continuing Education at Colorado State University will offer an essential introduction to the laws and policies that govern the allocation and use of water in Colorado through a new online, non-credit course titled "Colorado Water Law for Non-Lawyers."

The course will be beneficial for people who interact with water law including educators, developers, governmental officials, realtors, farmers, business people, environmentalists, students, scientists, recreationists and homeowners.

Glenn Patterson, senior research associate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State, will present the course from Aug. 25 through Dec. 12 in 12 modules, each covering an aspect of Colorado water law. All the modules, self-tests, readings, videos and discussions may be taken online at students’ own pace, offering the flexibility to fit into their existing schedules and location. Participants should expect to spend about three to five hours on each module and are encouraged to complete one module each week. Tuition is $489 and online registration is open through Aug. 25.

Patterson has taken the immense body of material on water policy and selected informative readings, lectures and speakers to convey the information needed to understand Colorado’s water laws. The evolving customs and uses of water in Colorado have served as the basis for the development of a unique body of law and policy that has influenced water law in many other Western states.

"The development of Colorado’s water laws reflects the changing values and interests of its citizens regarding one of its most precious natural resources," Patterson said. "This course traces that evolution, emphasizing what regular citizens, including homeowners, farmers, ranchers, developers, conservationists, educators, realtors, recreationists, planners and local government staff, need to know about how water law touches their lives."

Patterson, who has a Master of Science in Watershed Management from the University of Arizona, retired in 2007 from a 30-year career as a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He currently advises the National Park Service on USGS water activities and serves as a board member for the St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District.

The Division of Continuing Education at Colorado State University develops and delivers quality programs and educational opportunities in support of the university’s land grant mission with degrees; online, credit and noncredit courses; certificate programs; and custom training for businesses and

industry throughout Northern Colorado, in Denver, at business sites and via distance education using a variety of delivery methods.

For more information, visit or call Frances Betts at (877) 491-4336.