Here’s a guest commentary from Lynn McCullough, president of the Subdistrict 1 Board of Managers, Rio Grande Water Conservation District, running in The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:
The Board of Managers of Subdistrict No. 1 in the Rio Grande Conservation District would like to impart some very important information to all irrigators in Subdistrict No. 1. We are facing a potentially calamitous situation as the result of groundwater pumping during the 2011 irrigation season.
It now appears that the unconfined aquifer in the Closed Basin may fall to levels below those experienced following the 2002 drought, eliminating all of the gains made in restoring the aquifer through the voluntary efforts of the past eight years.
Although many irrigators have continued to practice conservation practices, the highly favorable commodity prices of the past year and the incredibly dry and windy conditions have led to a significant increase in groundwater withdrawals.
Karl Nyquist, a partner with GP Water, will discuss his proposal to build a reservoir and treatment plant at Lamar in order to move up to 12,000 acre-feet annually to growing Front Range communities. This will be the first presentation to the roundtable on the plan, which came to light in July when Nyquist and his partners asked the Elbert County commissioners to expand the Elbert and Highway 84 Commercial Metro District, which they control, as a way to expedite the project. The company has proposed using the roundtable’s report “Considerations for Agriculture to Urban Water Transfers” as a way to identify third-party impacts if water is moved from Prowers County, a rural area historically dependent on its farm economy, to growing cities on the Front Range…
GP Water proposes to pump water from Denver Basin aquifers in Elbert County to supply the Cherokee Metro District in Colorado Springs. In the long-term, GP proposes to pump treated water from Lamar to Cherokee and other users. Nyquist held five public meetings in Prowers, Elbert and El Paso counties during August to explain the plan to local communities that would be involved. About 1,000 people showed up to protest the expansion of the district at an Aug. 24 Elbert County commissioners meeting. The district withdrew its application in response to the public opposition, but Nyquist said the company will still work toward building the pipeline project…
The Lamar Canal is closely tied to the Granada Ditch, where some irrigators are fearful of what could happen to their water deliveries if the GP project is developed.