Public uses of water should not be quantified |

Public uses of water should not be quantified

Richard G. Hamilton

Uses of waters in Colorado by the public should not be quantified within the Colorado Doctrine of Appropriations due to the fact that the ownership of water in Colorado is held by the public, and due to pronouncements in the Colorado Constitution that the waters of the state of Colorado are “dedicated to the use of the people of the state, subject to appropriation as hereafter provided.” (Colorado Constitution, Article XVI, Section 5).

That the public has had an irrevocable ownership of water has long been recognized in the United States in law.

Those historic determinations of irrevocable public ownership of water have conditioned the ownership of water by the public as being much more than a mere usufruct use “right” of water subject to governmental administration. The enunciation of public ownership of waters has been determined, and upheld, by United States Supreme Court from the onset of judicial review of cases decided in our nation’s history.

Public ownership of Colorado water is not a water use “right”; it is treated as a separate concept in Colorado Constitutional provisions from that of water use; and should not be quantified within Colorado’s water rights use determination/allocation system.

Senate Bill 06-037 here proposed ” “Recreation In-Channel Diversion” ” should be defeated as presenting an unconstitutional restraint on the public’s enjoyment in its own estate.

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