Lower South Platte Water Symposium recap

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Here’s a recap of the recent Lower South Platte Water Symposium, from Judy Debus writing for the Sterling Journal Advocate. From the article:

What is happening to the water supply in northeastern Colorado now and what can be expected in the future was the topic of the day for the Lower South Platte Water Symposium at Northeastern Junior College. Attending were farmers, ranchers, government representatives, conservation groups, legislators and others concerned with what is going to happen to the Colorado water supply.

Presentations by Jim Hall, division engineer of the State Engineer’s Office; Jerry Kinny of the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program; Greg Kernohan of Ducks Unlimited; Peter Walker of the Colorado Division of Wildlife; Nolan Doesken and Neil Hansen of Colorado State University; Rod Kuharich and Jim Yahn, members of the Colorado Water Roundtables; and Eric Hecox of the Colorado Water Conservation Board offered the attendees an overview what is happening and what can be expected in the future…

Hall addressed the increased municipal demand because of growth, regardless of the economy, that is going to put pressure on the water system. If projects aren’t approved like the Northern project or the Windy Gap project and other projects that are proposed, the water will have to come from somewhere. “That water is going to come from somewhere and it will probably come from agriculture” he said. As far as future administration of water, Hall spoke of the continuing drop in irrigated acres in the state. In 1976, there were approximately one million irrigated acres as opposed to 838,000 acres in 2005. In 1956, there were no sprinklers; in 1976, 15 percent of the land was sprinkler irrigated; and in 2005, 40 percent was sprinkler irrigated. Cities are also lining gravel pits to store more water, mainly for reusable water that has historically gone into the river so in the future there will be less flow in the river due to that.

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