Colorado water stewardship project: a singular mission
The purpose of the Colorado Water Stewardship Project (CWSP) is to ensure that the Colorado Water Congress (CWC) members and water stakeholders from around the state are prepared for any Public Trust Doctrine ballot initiatives that would disrupt ownership and management of Colorado’s water resources.
The Public Trust Initiative “would drop what amounts to a nuclear bomb on Colorado water rights and land rights,” and “would strip members of the public, cities, farms and families throughout this state of their most valuable economic interests.” — Justice Gregory Hobbs
Specifically, the project analyzes public understanding of the Doctrine and informs water stakeholders of the implications of a Public Trust Doctrine in Colorado. CWSP monitors all ballot filings and legal actions for a Public Trust Doctrine and challenges these to every possible extent.
public trust doctrine
The Public Trust Doctrine is the concept that Colorado’s environment is the common property of all Coloradans. Governments are to act as trustees of air, water, natural, and scenic values for the benefit of all the people.
The Doctrine would:
The Public Trust Doctrine holds no legal authority in Colorado, and is inconsistent with (i) the Colorado Constitution, (ii) existing state laws, and (iii) over 150 years of Colorado case law and water allocation. The Colorado Water Congress opposes public trust initiatives on the grounds they are unwise, unnecessary, expensive and disruptive to the fair and responsible allocation and stewardship of Colorado’s water resources.
Colorado has a history of challenges to its system of water allocation through ballot issues – with a Public Trust Doctrine initiative first surfacing in 1992.
For information regarding the 2016 initiatives, please click the links below:
Initiative #40: Right to Local Self Government. The Title Board approved the title, and the initiative was challenged in the Supreme Court. Initiative upheld by the court. Signatures were not turned in, so it did not appear on the ballot in the November, 2016 election.
Initiative #63: Right to a Healthy Environment. The Title Board approved the title, and the initiative was challenged in the Supreme Court. Signatures were not turned in, so it will not appear on the ballot in the November, 2016 election.
Initiative #75: Local Government Authority to Regulate Oil and Gas Development. It grants local governments broad powers to establish more restrictive requirements than State law. The Secretary of State stated that, due to insufficient valid signatures, this initiative did not make it on the ballot for the November, 2016 election.
Amendment 71 (Initiative #96): Requirements for Initiated Constitutional Amendments. It requires signatures from 2% of voters in all 35 State Senate Districts and 55% voter approval. The Secretary of State verified signatures, and the Colorado Water Congress Board passed a resolution in support it. Amendment 71 passed with 57% approval.
For information on the results of the 2016 ballot initiative, please refer to our News tab.
More information regarding the 2017 ballot initiatives coming soon!