Jefferson V. Houpt


For the past 33 years, Jeff Houpt has been assisting clients throughout Colorado to acquire, maintain, and protect their rights to use water. Among the services Jeff regularly provides are the following:

  • Adjudicate water rights, changes of water rights, plans for augmentation, and exchanges of water rights;
  • Design and adjudicate new water supplies for residential, municipal, agricultural, industrial, and other uses;
  • Advise ditch companies, municipal water suppliers, water conservancy districts, and other entities concerning water rights, operations, and related matters;
  • Identify and oppose water claims of others that might adversely affect his client’s water rights;
  • Evaluate water rights as part of real estate acquisitions and transactions;
  • Obtain permits to construct and operate wells;
  • Craft well-sharing and ditch operating agreements;
  • Obtain and protect water facility easements; and
  • Effectively resolve water-related disputes.

Augmentation plans have become essential to new water uses in Colorado. Jeff has designed and adjudicated hundreds of them, from straightforward plans that allow a property owner to drill a domestic well to complex plans for ski areas, golf courses and new residential and commercial communities. Jeff has developed an extensive network of professional contacts within the water community that helps him to identify potential sources of augmentation water and incorporate those sources into an effective augmentation plan.

Jeff regularly shares his knowledge, experience and insights regarding Colorado water law by writing and speaking to other attorneys and professionals involved in water matters. A copy of Jeff’s primer on General Principles of Colorado Water Law is available here.

Jeff attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland Oregon, graduating in 1977 with a degree in biology. He and his wife, Trési, moved to Colorado in 1983. Jeff graduated from the University of Denver College of Law in 1988, and practiced water and environmental law in Denver with one of Colorado’s preeminent water law firms, Saunders, Snyder, Ross & Dickson, P.C. In 1994, Jeff and Trési fled the Big City to realize their goal of raising their family in a small mountain town. When not at his desk, you can find Jeff skiing or snowshoeing, hiking, biking, sailing, or enjoying the Colorado scenery by motorcycle.

Practice Specialties

  • Water Law
  • Land Use
  • Real Estate and Real Property
  • Local Government Law


  • University of Denver, 1988, J.D.
  • Lewis and Clark College, 1977, B.S., Biology

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado, 1988
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, 1989

Publications and Presentations

  • Co-Author, Colorado Water Law Benchbook, CLE in Colorado, 2007-Present.
  • Instructor, Colorado Water Law and Hydrology, 1995-2004.
  • Instructor, Water Rights for Real Estate Attorneys, Colorado Bar Association, 18th Annual Real Estate Symposium (July, 2000).
  • Co-Author, The Water Rights Determination and Administration Act of 1969: A Western Slope Perspective on the First Thirty Years,” 3 UNIV. OF DENVER, WATER LAW REVIEW 39 (1999).
  • Lecturer, Private Property Rights and the Endangered Species Act, Thorne Ecological Institute, 6th Symposium on Issues and Technology in the Management of Impacted Wildlife, April 1994.
  • Instructor, Environmental Law, University of Denver Graduate Program in Environmental Management, 1993.
  • Author, Colorado’s New Clean Air Program, 22 COLO. LAW. 541 (1993).
  • Author, The Clean Air Act’s Revitalized Attainment Program, 7 NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT 10 (1992).

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Ninth Judicial District Bar Association


  • Beattie, Houpt & Jarvis, LLP, Partner, 2018-Present.
  • Beattie, Chadwick & Houpt, LLP, Partner, 2007-2018.
  • Caloia, Houpt & Hamilton, P.C., Partner 1995-2007.
  • Leavenworth & Caloia, P.C., Associate, 1994-1995.
  • Saunders, Snyder, Ross & Dickson, P.C., Associate, 1988-1994.