The People Who Make The Difference

Alan E. Curtis

Managing Member



Alan Curtis represents municipal, agricultural, industrial, commercial and private water rights holders in a variety of water matters before Colorado courts and state and federal agencies, including issues related to impacts of oil and gas production and hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” on water quantity and quality.

Alan has extensive experience in complex water rights litigation, having negotiated settlements for clients in over a hundred cases before the Colorado water courts.  Where settlement is not possible, he has substantial experience as lead trial counsel.  Alan has also prosecuted numerous water rights appeals through the Colorado Supreme Court. 

In addition, Alan represents clients before the Colorado Ground Water Commission, in rulemaking before the Colorado State Engineer and in administrative proceedings before the Environmental Protection Agency, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, local planning commissions, and other state and federal agencies.  He also advises clients in transactions involving the purchase and sale of water rights, including ownership issues, preparation of documents for closing and resolution of disputes. 

Alan graduated from the University of Denver College of Law, where he received awards for highest academic performance in water law and energy law.  He has lectured and authored articles on various issues regarding Colorado water rights, water rights transactions and issues related to oil and gas production and fracking and its impacts on water quality and quantity.  

Areas of Practice:

  • Water Law
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Litigation & Appeals

Bar Admissions:

  • Colorado, 2003
  • Utah, 2015

Education:

  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Denver, Colorado, 2002
    – J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence
    – Awards for Highest Academic Performance in Water Law and Energy Law
    – Staff Editor, University of Denver Water Law Review, 2000–02
    – NRELS Appellate Advocacy Tournament, Team Semi-Finalist & Finalist, 2001–02
    – Natural Resources Appellate Advocacy Tournament, Individual Semi-Finalist, 2002
  • Metropolitan State College of Denver, Denver, Colorado, 1998
    – B.A., Bachelor of Arts, Speech Communications
    – Magna cum laude

Editorial:

  • Water Wars, Greeley Tribune, May 20, 2007 (Co-author Sarah Klahn, Esq.)

Representative Cases:

  • Pawnee Well Users, Inc. v. Wolfe, 320 P.3d 320 (Colo. 2013)
  • Burlington Ditch Reservoir & Land Co. v. Metro Wastewater Reclamation Dist., 256 P.3d 645 (Colo. 2011)
  • Well Augmentation Subdistrict of Cent. Colo. Water Conservancy Dist. v. City of Aurora, 221 P.3d 399 (Colo. 2009)
  • N. Sterling Irrigation Dist. v. Simpson, 202 P.3d 1207 (Colo. 2009)
  • Gallegos v. Colo. Ground Water Comm’n, 147 P.3d 20 (Colo. 2006)

Representative Clients:

  • Ballyneal Golf Club, LLC
  • Black Mountain Oil and Gas
  • City of Sterling, Colorado
  • City of Thornton, Colorado
  • Conifer Metropolitan District
  • ConocoPhillips Company
  • Cottonwood Hollow Metropolitan District
  • Dawson Trails I, LLC
  • Highlands-Mead Metropolitan District
  • Highway 119 Metropolitan District
  • Natural Prairie Colorado Farmland Holdings, LLC
  • Promontory Metro District
  • Reunion Metropolitan District
  • Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District
  • Town of La Veta, Colorado
  • Tri-State Generation & Transmission, Inc.

Classes & Seminars Taught:

  • Mentor, Professional Mentoring Program, Sturm College of Law (2020–22)
  • Panelist, National Water Forum, an invitational meeting of 40 of the most influential water attorneys and administrators in the United States (Aspen, Colo. Sept. 7–9, 2017; virtual forum Jan. 28, 2021)
  • Exploring Water Law and Regulatory Issues, Energy Production and Land Law Seminar, HalfMoon Education, Inc., Denver, Colo. (Apr. 8, 2020)
  • Panelist, Legal Professions Workshop, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, Colo. (2018, 2020)
  • Programs Vice Chair, ABA SEER Public Land and Resources Committee (2019–20)
  • Classic Horror: Colorado Water Right Title Issues, CALSS Seminar, Denver, Colo. (Sept. 14, 2019)
  • Adventures in Colorado Ditch Law, CALSS Seminar, Denver, Colo. (Feb. 9, 2019)
  • Water Wars: A Select History, CALSS Conference, Cheyenne, Wyo. (June 2, 2018)
  • Planning Committee, ABA 36th Annual Water Law Conference, Orlando, Fla. (Apr. 16–18, 2018)
  • Update on Hydraulic Fracturing, One World One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship Program, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colo. (Mar. 7, 2018)
  • Water Rights and Uses within the Decree, 16th Annual Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance Conference, Pueblo, Colo. (Feb. 21–23, 2018)
  • Ditch Companies in a Changing World: Balancing New Uses Against Old, Colorado Water Congress 2018 Convention, Denver, Colo. (Jan. 24–26, 2018)
  • Mentor, Trial Attorney Mentoring Program, Colorado Supreme Court (2017–18)
  • Front Range Resources, LLC v. Colorado Ground Water Commission, Colorado Supreme Court Oral Argument, Case No. 16SA243 (Dec. 5, 2017)
  • Guest expert regarding water rights and augmentation plans, Troubleshooter radio broadcast, 630 KHOW, Denver, Colo. (June 6, 2017)
  • Planning Committee, ABA 35th Annual Water Law Conference, Los Angeles, Cal. (Mar. 25–27, 2017)
  • Update on Hydraulic Fracturing, One World One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship Program, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colo. (Mar. 8, 2017)
  • Vice Chair, Planning Committee, ABA 34th Annual Water Law Conference, Austin, Tex. (Mar. 29–30, 2016)
  • Update on Hydraulic Fracturing, One World One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship Program, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colo. (Mar. 9, 2016)
  • Drought Sheds Light on the California’s Water Law Deficiencies, Interview, ABA Journal (Mar. 2016)
  • Laws Governing Stormwater and Precipitation Harvesting, Colorado Water Congress 2015 Summer Conference, Vail, Colo. (Aug. 19, 2015)
  • Water and Energy: Planning for Current and Future Demands, presentation to Utah State Water Development Commission (July 14, 2015)
  • Planning Committee, ABA 33rd Annual Water Law Conference, Denver, Colo. (June 3–5, 2015)
  • New and Terrifying Developments in Colorado Water Law,  American Water Rights Association – Colorado Section, 2015 Annual Symposium, Golden, Colo. (May 1, 2015)
  • Hydraulic Fracturing, One World One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship Program, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colo. (Apr. 1, 2015)
  • Nontributary Ground Water as a Landowner Asset, CBA CLE, Denver, Colo. (Sept. 26, 2014)
  • Planning Committee, ABA 32nd Annual Water Law Conference, Las Vegas, Nev. (June 4–6, 2014)
  • Planning Group, What Is Going On Down There?  Hydraulic Fracturing Issues, ABA 32nd Annual Conference, Las Vegas, Nev. (June 4–6, 2014)
  • Planning Group, Going with the Flow: Nuts & Bolts/Practical Applications Panel on Groundwater and Aquifer Mechanics, ABA 32nd Annual Conference, Las Vegas, Nev. (June 4–6, 2014)
  • Flexibility in Administration, 12th Annual Colorado Water Law Conference, CLE Int’l, Beaver Creek, Colo. (Feb. 21, 2014)
  • Colorado Water Law and Issues, One World One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship Program, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colo. (Feb. 3, 2014)
  • Reuse of Produced Water: Relevant Law and Policy, Governor’s Energy Office Beneficial Use Meeting, Grand Junction, Colo. (Jan. 7, 2014)
  • Water, Oil and Gas – Recycling and Reuse of Water, CBA CLE in Colorado, Inc., Denver, Colo. (June 11, 2013)
  • Planning Committee, ABA 31st Annual Water Law Conference, Las Vegas, Nev. (June 5–7, 2013)
  • Planning Group, Making the Connection: Strategies and Emerging Trends in Integrated Surface and Groundwater Management, ABA 31st Annual Water Law Conference, Las Vegas, Nev. (June 5–7, 2013)
  • Planning Group, Water and Wattage: Securing Water Supplies for New Energy Development Trends, ABA 31st Annual Water Law Conference, Las Vegas, Nev. (June 5–7, 2013)
  • Discussion Leader, The Myths About Eastern vs Western Water Law – Public Trust In the Balance, Water Resources Law Forum, Cambridge Forums, Santa Fe, NM (May 16, 2013)
  • Discussion Leader, Fracking: Nexus Between Energy & Water, Water Resources Law Forum, Cambridge Forums, Santa Fe, NM (May 16, 2013)
  • Tributaries to Change: Water Quality Impacts from Produced Water, 2013 Annual Arkansas River Basin Water Forum, Walsenburg, Colo. (Apr. 24, 2013)
  • Water, Oil and Gas 101: Reinjection of Produced Water and Beyond, CBA CLE, Denver, Colo. (Apr. 10, 2013)
  • Planning Committee Member, ABA, Environment, Energy and Resources Section Water Resources Conference, Las Vegas, Nev. (2012)
  • Protecting Water Quantity and Quality, Colorado Water and Energy Research Center, University of Colorado Law School (Nov. 26, 2012)
  • Water Quantity and Quality Laws: Legal Framework for the Oil and Gas Industry, Colorado School of Mines (Jan. 20, 2011)
  • Legal Perspectives Regarding CBM Water Quality Issues, Colorado Hazardous Waste Management Society (Oct. 12, 2010)
  • Changes of Water Rights, Sturm College of Law, Water Law Class, Denver, Colo. (Oct. 13, 2009)
  • Beneficial Use of Water Rights, Sturm College of Law, Water Law Class, Denver, Colo. (Sept. 3, 2009)
  • EPA Draft Area Permit No. CO51221-00000, Petroglyph Energy, Inc., Walsenburg, Colo. (Aug. 10, 2009)
  • The Vance Case and Its Implications, Colorado Bar Association CLE, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (June 27, 2009)
  • Protecting Your Water Rights From Impacts of CBM Production, Walsenburg, Colo. (Dec. 13, 2008)
  • Colorado Water Rights and CBM Production, President’s Leadership Class, University of Colorado, Boulder Colo. (Oct. 24, 2008)
  • Water Rights Sales and Transfers, Lorman Education Services CLE, Denver, Colo. (Apr. 8, 2008)

Professional Associations & Memberships:

  • Adams/Broomfield County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Colorado Bar Association, Water Law Section
  • Colorado Water Congress
  • Utah Bar Association
  • Water Professionals Study Group Member, FLEX Market Model Project, Project Completion Report issued June 30, 2013