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Protect Colorado Water Ballot Initiatives 3 & 45.

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Presentation on theme: "Protect Colorado Water Ballot Initiatives 3 & 45."— Presentation transcript:

1 Protect Colorado Water Ballot Initiatives 3 & 45

2 What are Initiatives 3 & 45? Together, these initiatives create: “an obligation to protect the public’s interests in water” and prevent any use that would cause “irreparable harm” to water.

3 Why do we need initiatives 3 & 45? Water is the lifeblood of Colorado and one of our state’s most precious resources. With demand for water increasing and availability decreasing, we need to take steps necessary to preserve and protect our water.

4 Why do we need initiatives 3 & 45? (continued) The South Platte River is the most polluted river in Colorado. The South Platte River is the most polluted river in Colorado. Over 700,000 pounds of toxic chemicals are dumped into Colorado’s river a year with 1/3 ending up in the South Platte. Over 700,000 pounds of toxic chemicals are dumped into Colorado’s river a year with 1/3 ending up in the South Platte. Nearly 70% of Colorado’s rivers may not be protected under the Clean Water Act. Nearly 70% of Colorado’s rivers may not be protected under the Clean Water Act. “Report: South Platte most polluted in Colorado”, The Denver Post, March 22, 2012

5 What does it mean for you? Initiatives 3 & 45 reasserts public ownership of ALL Colorado’s water by creating the Colorado Public Trust Doctrine. The State of Colorado will serve as the steward of the trust to protect and enforce your interest. Initiative 45 ensures that our water is protected from unreasonable and unnecessary pollution and that our water is not permanently destroyed. Sec. 5 of Article XVI of the Colorado State Constitution states: “The water of every natural stream, not heretofore appropriated, within the state of Colorado, is hereby declared to be the property of the public, and the same is dedicated to the use of the people of the state, subject to appropriation as hereinafter provided.” Sec. 5 of Article XVI of the Colorado State Constitution states: “The water of every natural stream, not heretofore appropriated, within the state of Colorado, is hereby declared to be the property of the public, and the same is dedicated to the use of the people of the state, subject to appropriation as hereinafter provided.”

6 What does it mean for you? (continued) Initiative 3 creates the Trust and public ownership of Colorado’s water, as set forth in our Constitution, will be reaffirmed and strengthened. Initiative 3 creates the Trust and public ownership of Colorado’s water, as set forth in our Constitution, will be reaffirmed and strengthened. Together, Initiatives 3 & 45 will protect Colorado’s water. If water is so polluted as to restrict or make it unusable downstream, the State, as the steward of the public’s interest, must take steps to correct this misuse in the name of the common good.

7 Who benefits? Sportsman and Recreation Hunting and fishing is over a billion-dollar industry in the State of Colorado. The preservation and protection of wildlife is one of the goals of these initiatives. In 15 states that have applied the Public Trust Doctrine, wildlife is discussed as a reason for adoption. The Economic Impact of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Watching in Colorado, BBC Research and Consulting, Denver, CO, Sept. 26, From Ancient Rome…To the Ruby River, Why the Public Trust Doctrine Matters to You, Chris Smith, Wildlife Management Institute, April 20, 2012.

8 Who benefits? Industry In Colorado, over 33,000 jobs rely on access and availability of our state’s outdoor treasures. Many other industries rely on clean water and recreation to be successful. Allowing access and ensuring water is clean will help our state’s business to thrive as well as attract new, job- creating industry to our state. Economic Impact of Outdoors Huge in Colorado, Dave Buchanan, GJ Sentential, December 3, 2011.

9 Who benefits? The Environment Initiatives 3 & 45 will impact the environment in a positive manner. From ensuring water is clean to allowing access to waterways, these initiatives return our water to a more natural state.

10 What if I have a waterway on my property? The Trust DOES NOT open your land to the public. You still have the right to enforce the law against trespassers on your property. The water on your land can only be accessed through public right of ways.

11 What if I have a well or groundwater on my property? All water, whether surface or groundwater, will be covered under Initiative 45, meaning that a water right must be obtained for uses, except that the current right to use groundwater for domestic purposes without acquiring a water right will continue, though a permit for such use will remain in force. Use of any and all water that results in the destruction or pollution of water will be subject to sanctions. Pollution and destruction would be considered impairment of public waters causing harm to both the public and environment. Short term private gains will not be sacrificed to long-term public wellbeing.

12 Colorado is not alone 41 states recognize the Trust as a valid legal doctrine. 21 states extend the Trust to all water. 15 states discuss the Trust as it relates to wildlife.

13 Conclusion and next steps In Colorado, we need to join our western neighbors in passing Initiatives 3 & 45. We need to take back ownership of our water so as a state, we can ensure its survival for generations to come. The first step to ensure that Colorado’s water is protected is ensuring these initiatives are on the ballot. To join hundreds of your fellow Coloradans visit


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