San Luis Valley: Summer pumping has erased much of the acquifer recharge gains made since 2002

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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.

More Rio Grande River basin coverage here.

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