San Luis Valley: Trial for first groundwater sub-district moved to September 28

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

District Judge O. John Kuenhold scrapped an Aug. 3 trial date Tuesday so that objectors in the case would have sufficient time to analyze forthcoming changes to the proposed management plan and the court could give sufficient public notice. Attorneys for 16 objectors in the case also had argued that more time was needed to evaluate the Rio Grande Decision Support System, a computer model which the court ordered should serve as the basis for calculating the depletions caused by groundwater pumping.

The new time frame puts the squeeze on the plan’s supporters. Should the court approve the plan, the plan’s backers would have to get the subdistrict’s tax information to Alamosa, Rio Grande and Saguache county assessors by Dec. 1. Failure to do so would mean the subdistrict would be without local tax revenue in 2010. The subdistrict, which would take in nearly 3,000 irrigation wells and 174,000 acres of irrigated farmland, hopes to use a combination of local assessments and federal conservation funding to pay farmers to fallow up to 40,000 acres and thereby reduce groundwater pumping.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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