Raymond L. Petros


Ray Petros devotes his law practice to water law and associated areas of land use, real estate, mined land reclamation, and environmental law.  He has represented many of his clients since the beginning of his legal career, for over 40 years.

Representative work for clients:

  • Municipal Water Transfers.  The adjudication of numerous changes of water rights to municipal use by a major Front Range city, involving thousands of acre feet of water from nearby irrigation ditches and reservoirs, which rights were formerly used on land annexed into the city.
  • Land Use Regulation of Water Projects.  Drafting of a county’s “1041” land use regulations over water projects, including the successful litigation in defense of those regulations, and the county’s permitting approval of a water storage and pipeline project, estimated to cost over $1billion.
  • Permitting and Acquisition of Mine.  The permitting at the county and state levels for a 300-acre open-pit mine to supply limestone and shale to a cement plant; the development of an alternative reclamation plan to construct a large reservoir during mining; the acquisition of associated real estate for the project; the donation of several hundred acres of land for public open spaces; and the successful litigation to enjoin the co-owner of the property to approve the mining and reclamation plan.
  • City-Wide Appropriation of Groundwater.  A pioneering, city-wide appropriation and adjudication of a city’s right to use the deep groundwater in the Denver Basin aquifers below its city, amounting to one million acre-feet.
  • Litigation Over Stream Priorities.  The successful litigation on behalf of a private party over the relative priorities between water rights on the upper South Fork and North Fork of the South Platte River, which resulted in a Colorado Supreme Court decision resolving the century-long controversy.
  • Defense of Subdivision Regulation For Water Supplies.  The favorable defense of a county in litigation over its requirement of a 300-year supply of nonrenewable groundwater for new residential subdivisions.
  • Remediation Plans.  The development and adjudication of water supplies needed to remediate water contamination at several industrial sites.
  • County-Wide Augmentation Plan.  The adjudication of a county-wide “umbrella” augmentation plan to replace out-of priority depletions caused by small wells and other uses within the county, and the development of an associated water leasing program by the county.
  • News Coverage.  Consultation to a newspaper publisher and editorial board on coverage of water issues.
  • Reclamation Contract.  Representation of a water district relating to an amendment of its carriage contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for a large water project.
  • Ski Areas.  Diligence review of water rights and subsequent water rights planning for a client acquiring a major ski area.
  • Electric Power Authority.  Representation of an electric power authority on matters relating to the water supply for its power station and management of its water rights.
  • Sale and Acquisition of Reservoirs.  The sale by a City of three reservoirs to the National Park Service, and the acquisition of a large replacement reservoir by purchasing controlling shares in a mutual reservoir company, changing its use, and negotiating a recreational lease there for a city park.
  • Park and Golf Course Water Supplies.  The implementation of a City’s acquisition program of ditch rights for irrigation of parks and golf courses, and the associated development of a large regional park around a flood-control reservoir.
  • Mineral Water Bottling Supply.  The successful adjudication of water rights in artesian water wells for use in a revived bottled water company.
  • Water Right Title Opinions and Security Interests.  Title opinions, conveyancing, and evaluations of water rights on large ranches and commercial properties for purchasers and lenders.
  • Environmental Reviews of Water Projects.  Submission of detailed written comments on behalf of clients concerning Federal environmental impact statements for proposed water projects.

Ray attended Colorado College as a Boettcher Foundation Scholar.  In 1972, he obtained his B.A. degree from CC, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with a combined Philosophy and Political Theory major.  He graduated in 1975 from the University of Colorado Law School with a J.D. degree, and while there, published a law review article and became a member of the editorial board of the C.U. Law Review.  Upon graduation from law school, Ray served as a judicial clerk to Justice Paul V. Hodges on the Colorado Supreme Court.  Prior to co-founding Petros & White, LLC in 1996, Ray was a partner in the Denver office of a large national law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, and subsequently a partner in the large Rocky Mountain regional firm of Holme Roberts & Owen, serving a term on its executive committee.  In recent years, Ray was appointed President of the Colorado College Alumni Association Board and a member of its Board of Trustees.  He has been selected for listing in the Best Lawyers of America in the area of Water Law.