Rio Grande River basin: Alamosa and parts of Conejos and Costilla counties are in extreme drought, the remainder of Costilla and parts of Conejos, Rio Grande and Saguache counties are in severe drought

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

Valley snowmelt peaked on Wednesday and the region’s stream flows are dropping, while windy and dry conditions continue…

Federal agricultural officials, meanwhile, are considering whether to request a disaster designation that would make valley producers eligible for relief funds and other programs.

The U.S. Drought Monitor lists Alamosa and parts of Conejos and Costilla counties as being in extreme drought. The remainder of Costilla and parts of Conejos, Rio Grande and Saguache counties are in severe drought, according to the monitor. Kevin Reeves, executive director of Alamosa County’s Farm Service Administration office, said he and other FSA officials were seeking to set up a joint meeting of the valley’s county emergency boards. Those boards, which include other FSA and federal land management personnel, would have to send a request for the designation to the state FSA office, which would then be forwarded to the governor. The governor, in turn, would have to request the designation from the U.S. secretary of agriculture.

Arkansas River basin: The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District hopes to buy the JV Ranch in El Paso County and change the shares to municipal use

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Northern El Paso County district would purchase the 3,500 [acre] JV Ranch southeast of Fountain for $25 million-$31 million, with the final price dependent on how much water is available through a Water Court decree. The application for the decree has not been filed. Water rights on the ranch would total 2,500-3,500 acre-feet annually, and would include Calhan Reservoir, a 70-acre storage site with a 1909 decree. The purchase would complement its other plans to buy water on three ditches in the Lower Arkansas Valley, which have been announced over the past two years, not replace them, according to a letter to customer by manager Jessie Shaffer…

This week, a trial date for June 2013 was set in Division 2 Water Court for Woodmoor’s application to exchange water rights it is attempting to purchase in the Lower Ark Valley…

The trial will come after the Pueblo Board of Water Works rejected Woodmoor’s attempt to negotiate a settlement through stipulations before the Water Court referee, which is a common way to settle water cases in the state. Water board members and staff argued that the removal of water from the Arkansas River basin to a water system that enters another basin is too serious an issue to compromise on.

More Arkansas River basin coverage here.