San Luis Valley: For the first time since 2003 groundwater levels in parts of the valley have not increased


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

While the unconfined aquifer sits at a higher level than it did during that drought year, Allen Davey, an engineer who monitors groundwater for the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, said the decline could pinch growers by the end of the season.”There’s going to probably be some shortage of groundwater for wells,” he told the district’s board at its quarterly meeting Tuesday.

Davey said following the meeting that higher rates of pumping coupled with a below-average snowpack prevented the normal bounce in water levels. “I think the commodity prices are high. Precipitation is low. So we’ve had high pumping rates,” he said…

The unconfined aquifer is typically recharged in late spring and early summer as ditches begin diverting from the Rio Grande and the water is sent to agricultural fields, where it percolates down. As the season progresses, farmers pump that aquifer to finish their crops. In the past six years, the late spring recharge has bumped the aquifer’s level by as little as 100,000 acre-feet and by as much as 200,000 acre-feet.

More Rio Grande River basin coverage here.

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