Agriculture

Colorado’s Buy-and-Grow vs. Buy-and-Dry Program

Agricultural buy-and-dry occurs when someone purchases land and moves the water into the municipal system. There are mounting fears, however, that permanent dry-up of agricultural lands could potentially cripple the farming industry in Colorado. Alternatively, a buy-and-grow plan would allow farmers to share their water rights with municipalities--essentially a sharing of water rights between rural and urban communities. According to a recent Durango Herald article, with the buy-and-grow plan governments and private interests could help farmers with investments in water-conservation technology and other equipment, thereby helping farmers grow. The farmers would then share the water that they don’t need anymore because of the savings. In the article, Kelly Brough said that “They’re still growing, still producing, they’re more efficient, and they don’t lose their water right.” Brough is the Chief Executive of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce (DMCC). At an early October meeting in Denver with state and local water officials, hosted by the DMCC, Brough indicated that the buy-and-grow plan could usher in a new wave of water policy. To view the full article visit the Durango Herald


High Desert Conservation District, by Susan Thornton, Special Districts Association

In an effort to avoid confusion, the Dolores Conservation District recently changed their name to the High Desert Conservation District (HDCD). Among the services that the newly named HDCD provides is information about cover crops, erosion and salinity control, flood damage, irrigation management, noxious weeds, and practical management of crops and pastures. The District also publishes a resource handbook, Rural Living in Southwest Colorado. In addition, the District has hired an agricultural consultant to provide free on-site consultations with ranchers and farmers to help them establish best practices, which aids with more efficient water use. The free consultations are paid in part by a matching grant from the Southwestern Water Conservation District.


December 27, 2015--Water cuts could create economic 'tsunami' for Colorado Basin (Arizona Daily Star)

To understand how a future Colorado River water cutback could hurt the economy, start with this fact: The seven river basin states, by themselves, make up the fifth largest economy in the world, a speaker said at a recent water conference. Then, consider that the economic output of the areas within those — including Arizona — that depend on the river for water equals that of Au


December 13, 2015--Ogallala aquifer initiative gets $8M more (Water Wired)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA will invest about $8 million in the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative in Fiscal Year 2016 to help farmers and ranchers conserve billions of gallons of water annually while strengthening agricultural operations.


December 7, 2015--Report: Climate change will affect Colorado's food supply (USDA)

A new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns that climate change could affect food supply in Colorado and worldwide. The report says risk extends beyond farms and ranches. It predicts that production across most of the U.S. should be able to handle the initial shocks of climate change without major losses.


December 1, 2015--Climate change, water scarcity, and adaptation in the U.S. fieldcrop sector (USDA)

Despite increased temperatures and much regional variation in production response, U.S. irrigated fieldcrop acreage and water used for irrigation are projected to decline with long-term climate change.


November 20, 2015--Colorado Water Plan's impact on Western Slope (Western Slope Now)

State leaders celebrated the completion of Colorado's first ever water plan, a comprehensive approach to solving the state's future water supply gap. State projections indicated by the year 2050, Colorado would have a supply gap of about 560,000 acre-feet of water.  That is equivalent to about 180 billion gallons of water per year. Hannah Holm, the coordinator of the Hutc


November 19, 2015--Colorado's Water Plan will need everyone to pitch in, officials say (Denver Post)

Colorado adopted a landmark $20 billion water plan Thursday to try to accommodate rapid population growth by conserving more, re-using more, storing more, sharing more between farmers and cities — and diverting less west-east across mountains. "Now is the time to re-think how we can be more efficient," Gov.


Agriculture/Irrigation Information

With more than 90 percent of water used for agriculture/irrigation in the San Juan/Dolores River Basin, the following provides useful information and resources kindly supplied, in part, with permission from the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservation District:

November 5, 2015--Water rule hits choppy water (Durango Herald)

The U.S. Senate this week advanced one effort to eliminate a controversial new rule extending regulation over small bodies of water, while blocking another attempt to rewrite it. “Coloradans know when they’re getting soaked,” Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, said following votes on Tuesday.


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