WA-12-2-Prior Appropriations Doctrine, Support for

WHEREAS Colorado adopted the Prior Appropriation Doctrine before statehood as its guiding philosophy for allocation of scarce water resources to growing demands; and

WHEREAS Colorado enshrined the Prior Appropriation Doctrine in the state Constitution, providing that waters of the state belong to the people of the state subject to appropriation for beneficial use; and

WHEREAS the well-settled principals of water allocation under the Prior Appropriation Doctrine have shaped the economic and social development of Colorado for more than 125 years; and

WHEREAS Colorado water law over time has proven its ability to adapt to changing uses and values regarding water consistent with and within the Prior Appropriation Doctrine, and

WHEREAS Colorado’s Prior Appropriation Doctrine is premised on respect for property rights, protection of historical water use from injurious new uses, and recognition of Colorado as a semi-arid state; and

WHEREAS Colorado and federal laws already provide for the protection of the public’s interest and values in Colorado’s water resources; and

WHEREAS from time to time proposals to reverse, alter, and amend Colorado’s Prior Appropriation Doctrine surface in Colorado; and

WHEREAS replacement of the Prior Appropriation Doctrine with any version of the Public Trust Doctrine or a Riparian Doctrine would lead to prolonged legal battles, claims of takings of private property rights, inefficient allocation of scarce resources, and diversion of public and private resources from other state priorities;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that CLUB 20 pledges its continued support for and defense of Colorado’s Prior Appropriation Doctrine as the basic principal for allocation and management of Colorado’s precious water resources.

Adopted 3/30/2012

Amended 4/7/2017