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Feb 4, 2012 9:42 AM by Kate Richards

Could see big changes for Colorado water

DENVER (AP) - Opponents of two proposed ballot initiatives on water say the measures could change the way Colorado has handled water rights for decades.

Denver-area resident Phillip Doe has proposed amending the state constitution to highlight a clause that says streams are the property of the public - and making the public ownership legally superior to longstanding water rights.

A related proposal would spell out in the constitution that water rights can be constricted to prohibit uses that would harm the public's ownership in the water.

State Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg says that if approved, the proposals would turn the way Colorado handles water upside-down.

The Colorado Water Congress is going through the Colorado Supreme Court to try to keep the measures off the ballot.

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