Article 16

Mining and Irrigation

Section 1.  Commissioner of mines. There shall be established and maintained the office of commissioner of mines, the duties and salaries of which shall be prescribed by law. When said office shall be established, the governor shall, with the advice and consent of the senate, appoint thereto a person known to be competent, whose term of office shall be four years.

Section 2.  Ventilation ­ employment of children. The general assembly shall provide by law for the proper ventilation of mines, the construction of escapement shafts, and such other appliances as may be necessary to protect the health and secure the safety of the workmen therein; and shall prohibit the employment in the mines of children under twelve years of age.

Section 3.  Drainage. The general assembly may make such regulations from time to time, as may be necessary for the proper and equitable drainage of mines.

Section 4.  Mining, metallurgy, in public institutions. The general assembly may provide that the science of mining and metallurgy be taught in one or more of the institutions of learning under the patronage of the state.


Section 5.  Water of streams public property. 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.

Section 6.  Diverting unappropriated water ­ priority preferred uses. The right to divert the unappropriated waters of any natural stream to beneficial uses shall never be denied. Priority of appropriation shall give the better right as between those using the water for the same purpose; but when the waters of any natural stream are not sufficient for the service of all those desiring the use of the same, those using the water for domestic purposes shall have the preference over those claiming for any other purpose, and those using the water for agricultural purposes shall have preference over those using the same for manufacturing purposes.

Section 7.  Right­of­way for ditches, flumes. All persons and corporations shall have the right­of­way across public, private and corporate lands for the construction of ditches, canals and flumes for the purpose of conveying water for domestic purposes, for the irrigation of agricultural lands, and for mining and manufacturing purposes, and for drainage, upon payment of just compensation.

Section 8.  County commissioners to fix rates for water, when. The general assembly shall provide by law that the board of county commissioners in their respective counties, shall have power, when application is made to them by either party interested, to establish reasonable maximum rates to be charged for the use of water, whether furnished by individuals or corporations.