David F. Jankowski

Of Counsel

David Jankowski has had a long and enjoyable career in the practice of water rights, water quality and regulatory permitting law in Colorado and other western states since his graduation from Cornell Law School in 1974.  Dave represents a wide range of public and private clients including state, regional and municipal governments, private corporations, not-for-profit entities, agricultural interests and citizens groups.  He continues to maintain an active litigation practice, and has over the years participated in numerous civil trials and appeals in state and federal courts.  Some of these trials have been of epic proportion, lasting from six weeks to one year.  A memorable highlight will always be his participation as one of Wyoming’s lawyers in the United States Supreme Court appeal in Wyoming v. United States, an appeal that resulted in an unusual tie when one of the justices recused herself following oral argument.  Dave has authored many articles on water rights subjects and has spoken on water rights and other subjects to lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

Long a strong supporter of providing legal services to the poor, Dave is a past member and chair of the board of directors of the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado, Inc., a private not-for-profit corporation which develops funding for legal services programs in Colorado.  Though long ago term-limited as a board member, he continues his annual fundraising efforts for the Foundation.  Dave is included in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of water law, and has been recognized in Colorado Super Lawyers®. He has also earned AV Preeminent® ratings from Martindale-Hubbell®.

Areas of Practice:

  • Water & Riparian Rights
  • Water Quality
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Litigation & Appeals

Bar Admissions:

  • Colorado, 1974
  • United States District Court, District of Colorado, 1974
  • United States Supreme Court, 1989


  • Cornell Law School, Ithaca, New York, 1974
    – J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence
  • Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, 1970
    – B.A., Bachelor of Arts

Published Works:

  • The 1969 Act’s Contributions to Local Government Water Suppliers, 3 U. Denv. Water L. Rev. 20 (1999)
  • City of Thornton v. Bijou Irrigation Co.: The Thornton Northern Project, 26 Colo. Law. 67 (1997)
  • Annual Survey of Colorado Law, Water Law Chapter at 277, CLE in Colorado, Inc. (1981)
  • Annual Survey of Colorado Law, Water Law Chapter at 299, CLE in Colorado, Inc. (1980)
  • Annual Survey of Colorado Law, Water Law Chapter at 281, CLE in Colorado, Inc. (1979)
  • Review and Analysis of Grand County, Colorado, Land Use Laws Related to Water Quality Protection, USEPA (Jan. 1977)

Representative Cases:

  • Well Augmentation Subdistrict of Central Colorado Water Conservancy District v. City of Aurora, 221 P3d 399 (Colo. 2009)
  • City of Sterling v. Sterling Irrigation Co., 42 P.3d 72 (Colo. App. 2002)
  • Chatfield E. Well Co., Ltd v. Chatfield East Prop. Owners Ass’n, 956 P.2d 1260 (Colo. 1998)
  • City of Thornton v. Bijou Irrigation Co., 926 P.2d 1 (Colo. 1996)
  • Wyoming v. United States, 492 U.S. 406 (1989)
  • In re Gen. Adjudication of Big Horn River Sys., 753 P.2d 76 (Wyo. 1988)
  • Telluride Co. v. Div. Eng’r, 575 P.2d 1297 (Colo. 1978)

Representative Clients:

  • CAM – Colorado LLC
  • City of Sterling, Colorado
  • City of Thornton, Colorado
  • Pass Creek Ranch
  • Trail’s End Ranch, L.L.C.
  • Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.

Classes & Seminars Taught:

  • Water Right Evaluations, CLE Int’l, Denver, Colo. (Aug. 11, 1998)
  • Summary of Colorado Water Law and Practice, a chapter in CLE in Colorado, Inc., Water Law for the Real Estate Practitioner, Paper delivered (Oct. 30, 1986)
  • Survey of Colorado Water Law, a chapter in CLE in Colorado, Inc., Paper delivered (Nov. 18, 1978 & Dec. 8, 1978)
  • Practice in the Water Court, a chapter in CLE in Colorado, Inc., Paper delivered (Nov. 18, 1978 & Dec. 8, 1978)
  • Practice Before the Ground Water Commission, a chapter in CLE in Colorado, Inc., Paper delivered (Nov. 18, 1978 & Dec. 8, 1978)
  • Federal and Indian Reserved Water Rights, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Billings, Mont., Davis, Cal. (Feb. 1978)
  • Local Flood Control Regulation, Colorado Municipal League (Dec. 26, 1977)

Professional Associations, Memberships & Honors:

  • American Bar Association, Natural Resources Section
  • Best Lawyers®, Water Law, 2006–17
  • Colorado Bar Association, Water Law Section, Environmental Law Section
  • Colorado Water Congress
  • Colorado Water Trust, Director
  • Denver Bar Association
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado
    – Member, Board of Trustees, 1997–2003
  • Martindale-Hubbell®, AV Preeminent® Ratings
  • Super Lawyers®, 2006–11