A “water right adjudication” is a legal proceeding in which the District Court determines (i.e. adjudicates) the elements of all water rights in a water basin. The elements of a water right are: the name of the owner and the priority of the water right; the amount of water; the purpose, period and place of use of the water; and, if the water is used for irrigation, the location of the irrigated land.
The Court adjudicates a water right by entering a judgment (known as a “Subfile Judgment”) that describes the elements of the water right. The judgment, once entered by the Court, is binding on the owner of the water right and on all other persons owning water rights in the basin. The procedure in the Animas for adjudicating water rights and for objecting to another persons’ water rights is described here.