DARCA annual conference: Gary Barber — ‘Irrigated land in Colorado is looking very good to investors’

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“Irrigated land in Colorado is looking very good to investors,” Gary Barber, president of the Two Rivers Water Co. told the Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance annual conference Thursday. “Colorado, being at the top of the system, is looking better.” Barber explained that water supply for food is a global problem, with China controlling farms in Africa to grow food for its people. Investors are looking at opportunities for food production worldwide…

Two Rivers, a company that is trying to redevelop Huerfano-Cucharas Irrigation Co. farms in Pueblo County and reservoirs in Huerfano County, has entered into a lease for water at $200 per acre-foot from the Pueblo Board of Water Works. The price is higher than typical spot market purchases by farms in the valley…

Since the historic drought of 2002, the state has focused on a gap in municipal supplies, with the goal of avoiding drying up more farmland. The roundtable formed a committee headed by Beulah rancher Reeves Brown to look at ways to put the gap in ag water on the same plane as the municipal need.

There is a need. This year, the Pueblo Board of Water Works received offers to purchase more than 50,000 acre-feet of water from ditches and farmers, but filled only one-quarter of them. The average price for successful bidders was $74 per acre-foot, about 60 percent higher than recent years.

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