San Luis Valley: First groundwater sub-district grappling with replacing surface water depletions this spring


From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

The board of managers for Special Improvement District No. 1 of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District (RGWCD) held a special meeting on Monday to wade through some of the complicated issues facing the sub-district as it navigates the waters ahead. The Valley’s first sub-district affects 175,000 irrigated acres and 500 or more individual property owners in Alamosa, Rio Grande and Saguache Counties north of the Rio Grande. Its goals include replacing injurious depletions from well pumping to surface water users, restoring the Valley’s aquifer levels and ensuring compliance with the Rio Grande Compact. By court order, the sub-district must begin replacing depletions to surface water rights this spring…

Water district attorney David Robbins said the judge required any wells not originally in the sub-district to go to the peer review committee to make sure any depletions they were causing would be accounted for in the groundwater model and replaced by the sub-district…

The board on Monday decided to extend to February 15 the deadline for applications from those wishing to enter fallowing contracts with the sub-district this year. The initial deadline was January 31. The board said by extending the deadline into February they could give farmers one last push during the potato grain conference in early February.

In addition, the board is still working out rules that will govern fallowing contracts and plans to review a draft of those rules on Monday morning, Jan. 30, at 8:30 a.m. in the Bureau of Reclamation office just east of Alamosa. The sub-district board will meet again at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8.

More Rio Grande River basin coverage here.

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