Here’s an update on the problems caused due to the shutdown of irrigation wells in the South Platte River basin that occurred in 2007, from Jessica Fender writing for the Denver Post. From the article:
House Bill 1174, now awaiting the governor’s signature, forgives the water debt that well users had incurred before 1974. It’s a small fraction of what some owe.
A farther-reaching bill would allow farmers to lease new sources of hard-to-find water every year as part of their permanent plans to repay water debts. It expands the pool of sellers to include users on a broader swath — like anywhere on the South Platte River Basin, for example — instead of limiting such transactions to smaller conservation districts. Senate Bill 147 [Water Supply Plans Pre-2003 Depletions] (pdf) would also expedite the approval process so that farmers can pump more water when they need it, said bill sponsor Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson. “It will allow them to feed their families and pay their mortgages. Those are things they’re having a hard time doing now,” Priola said. “We need to keep local farmers around.” The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Brighton Democrat Mary Hodge in the Senate, has been approved by the upper chamber and passed a House committee last week. There is no registered opposition to the legislation. It would expire in 2018.