Skip navigation links
Ground Water
Surface Water
Data & Maps
Documents & Forms
Division Offices
Skip navigation links
Livestock Water Tanks 
DWR > Surface Water > Dam Safety > Design and Construction > Livestock Water Tanks

In Colorado, many farms and ranches need ways to provide sufficient water for their stock. In recognition of this needs, the Colorado legislature has instituted rules governing the development and use of this type of structure. This page provides general information that you may need to know if you own or plan to build a livestock watering tank.

Livestock water tanks are covered under the "Livestock Water Tank Act of Colorado" sections 35-49-101 to 35-49-116, C.R.S. These structures include all reservoirs built after April 17, 1941, on watercourses which the state engineer has determined to be "normally dry" and having a capacity of not more than ten acre-feet and a vertical height not exceeding fifteen feet from the bottom of the channel to the bottom of the spillway. Again, as with erosion control dams, the height is measured from the lowest point of the upstream toe to the crest of the spillway. No livestock water tanks can be used for irrigation purposes.

If a person desires to construct a livestock water tank an application must be submitted to the state engineer for approval. If you have questions about these forms, please contact us.

After review and approval of the application by the state engineer you must notify this office of completion of construction. The state engineer may then inspect the water tank and within ten days after receiving notice of completion or within ten days after inspection he must then approve or disapprove of the structure. After final approval by the state engineer a priority of right is established chronologically upon the normally dry streambed.

As with erosion control dams, if the proposed reservoir has a capacity and dimension over that allowed pursuant to statute, the plans will be evaluated pursuant to different standards.