Quick History of Lower Clear Creek Ditch

  • The Lower Clear Creek Ditch (LCC or Ditch) has been in operation since 1861 and holds one of the most senior water rights on Clear Creek.

    • LCC is a historical feature that is privately owned by the Lower Clear Creek Ditch Company.

  • The main headgate diverts water from Clear Creek, located in Twin Lakes Park near 64th Ave. & Pecos Street. Once diverted water flows through a combined ditch, shared with the Colorado Agricultural Ditch (COAG), before the ditches are bifurcated.

  • LCC & COAG run nearly parallel to each other as they travel in a northeastern direction through Adams County and the City of Thornton.

  • Water use has changed over the years from irrigation for agriculture to a mixture of agricultural irrigation, drinking water, and to support local recreation.

Frequently Asked Questions

For general questions, please visit our Web Links page for a list of helpful resources.

When does water flow through the Ditch?

The Lower Clear Creek Ditch has the potential to run water year round.

  • During the irrigation season, typically April 1 - October 31, water is used by its shareholders. During drought conditions, water may flow as early as mid-March.

  • Water may also flow at times during the non-irrigation season, November 1 - March 31, to fill reservoirs.

Can I place a structure in, over, under, or along the Ditch?

Placing a structure within the easement requires a crossing agreement prior to working within the easement, which can be accomplished by following the crossing application process.

I have a building permit from the County/City, isn't that enough?

No. The County/City permit does not give you permission to build within the Ditch’s easement. You must complete the crossing application process, which is essentially the Ditch Company’s permit.

Does the Ditch Company own property?

The Ditch Company does own some property, though most of the easement is prescriptive. Adams County’s GIS maps website is a resource to determine property ownership.

What is the Ditch's prescriptive easement?

The generally accepted easement width for open sections is the ditch width plus 20 feet from the top of bank on both sides.

The generally accepted easement width for enclosed sections is the outside dimension of the structure plus 20 feet on both sides.

What if I'm not sure if I am working within the easement?

If you are unsure, please contact us and we would be happy to conduct a site visit. Failure to do so could result in the removal of your structure at your cost.

How long does it take to complete the crossing application process?

In most cases it takes about 3 months to complete the process.

How often the Ditch Company board meet?

The board is scheduled to meet once a month. Please see the meeting schedule on the Homepage.

Who makes up the board members?

The Ditch Company board is comprised of shareholders who volunteer their time to represent the best interest of their shareholders.

Is the Ditch Company responsible for the trees on my property?

The property owner is responsible for the trees on their property. However, the Ditch Company can trim or remove vegetation within it’s easement that is interfering or is likely to interfere with the Ditch’s operation.

How can I help prevent bank erosion that could affect my property?

Property owners along the Ditch should control drainage by limiting yard watering on properties that slope toward the Ditch. Never dump yard waste or trash along or in the Ditch, doing so will increase bank erosion.

My neighbor is is illegally taking water out of the Ditch, what should I do?

Taking water out of the Ditch without permission is a crime. The Ditch Company would encourage you to contact the local police or sheriff department. If you have pictures or video of the incident to share with us, that would be helpful.

Who maintains the Ditch?

Each year the Ditch Company conducts maintenance on the Ditch to prevent vegetation from blocking the flow of water and to help with access for future maintenance. Large equipment may be used to remove silt from the bottom of the Ditch or to remove trees within the Ditch’s easement. Be safe and stay away from all maintenance equipment.

How much land can a Ditch Company share of water irrigate?

For the Lower Clear Creek Ditch Company, a share of water will generally irrigate 5 acres.