Arkansas Basin Roundtable ag water needs committee met with Colorado State experts this week


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

For the past decade, Colorado has been looking at the “gap” in municipal water supplies. The Statewide Water Supply Initiative — first released in 2004 and updated last year — projects a gap of from 190,000 to 630,000 acre-feet per year if the state’s population doubles by 2050, as projections show it will. Until recently, the state had talked about drying up farmland to meet the gap. There is new concern that drying up ag land will diminish the ability to feed more people. Food supply is expected to become a global problem in the next 50 years.

“[The Statewide Water Supply Initiative] says by 2050 we’ll double the population, but by 2050, we’ll also have to feed those people,” said Mark Sponsler, CEO of Colorado Corn…

“We need to come up with a solution so that ag water relates the same as municipal water,” said Reeves Brown, a Beulah rancher and member of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District board. “We need to protect ag water.”[…]

Colorado State University researchers have developed computer models that can project the economic impact of removing water from agriculture, and the committee explored ways to develop models specific to the Arkansas and South Platte basins…

The group discussed presenting scenarios where the amount of water available for agriculture increases, stays the same or is reduced. Alternately, the models could factor in how the value of agricultural production could rise or fall with various amounts of water available.

More IBCC – basin roundtables coverage here.

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