Water Rights for Sale at Colorado Auction

You probably can imagine attending an auction to bid on a real estate property or parcel of land, the contents of an estate, or items for sale as part of a benefit fundraiser – but what about water?

At a recent auction held in Loveland, Colorado, hundreds of bidders gathered in a room to compete for land and water rights, with hundreds of units of Colorado-Big Thompson water up for sale.

NPR Wichita reported:

“Few things are more valuable to a farmer in the arid West than irrigation water. Without it, the land turns back into its natural state: dry, dusty plains. If a fast-growing city is your neighbor, then your water holds even more value.

Farm families in Western states like California and Colorado are increasingly under pressure to sell their water. It’s been coined ‘buy and dry,’ as water is diverted from farm fields and instead used to fill pipes in condos and subdivisions.

Buy and dry deals are usually cut behind closed doors, in quiet, unassuming meets. A city approaches a farm, or a farmer approaches a city, and strikes a deal. But a recent public auction in Loveland, Colorado, threw the doors wide open, bringing myriad bidders and interests into one room to duke it out… Bidders, some in cowboy hats, some in business suits, packed the room at the Larimer County Fairgrounds.”

Land and water rights auctions are increasingly common in the West, where water rights can be included in agricultural land auctions, but not regularly seen in Ohio, particularly in Northeast Ohio where fortunately access to water for farming is not a limited commodity. Still, we are keeping an eye on the trends on the other side of the country.

If you have questions about potentially selling or buying agricultural land at auction, feel free to call Dan O’Reilly at O’Reilly Auctions.