Water is one of Colorados most important natural resources. This year there are two citizens initiatives being proposed for the ballot that, if passed, will change Colorado water rights forever.
Initiative #3, called The Adoption of the Public Trust Doctrine, is worded to allow for the confiscation of existing water rights. The key provision of this initiative says in part ...That the publics estate in water in Colorado has a legal authority superior to rules and terms of contracts or property law. That statement flies in the face of over 100 years of established water law in Colorado.
Initiative #45, entitled Limits on Water Diversion, would socialize water rights. It states, in part, The public confers the privilege for the use and diversion of its water to any appropriator for the common good, yet it fails to define or say who will define the term common good.
These two initiatives would modify Article XVI Sections 5 and 6 of the state constitution in such a way as to potentially void the property rights of most agricultural water users and possibly even some municipal and industrial users.
Im sure these initiatives were well intentioned and meant to preserve in-stream flows and allow greater public use of waterways; however, they are poorly worded and amount to a state takeover and a socialization of water rights that I stand firmly against.
Editors note: Hunter is a candidate for Montezuma County commission in District 3.