LaSalle: Meeting to discuss groundwater levels and well curtailment June 7


From the Greeley Gazette (Matt Lacy):

Glen Fritzler, who runs the popular and nationally known Fritzler Corn Maze will be hosting a meeting of farmers and local officials this Thursday to discuss the concerns of rising groundwater and government restrictions on its usage to water their crops in the midst of an historic drought. The meeting will be held at the Fritzler farm located at 20861 CR 33 in LaSalle this Thursday, June 7 at 10:00 a.m. Organizers are encouraging anyone affected by the issue to attend the meeting. Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway, Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins, and Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Eaton are expected to attend, along with water experts and local producers and residents…

Many farmers in the area are facing the real possibility they could lose their crops this year due to a lack of available water from the South Platte following a lower than average snowpack last year. Some fields remain dry and farmers are having difficulty getting their crops to sprout to due to the water shortage…

Fritzler said what is so maddening is while the crops are suffering from a lack of water, the solution is literally right beneath their feet. In the years following the shutdown of the wells, the groundwater has since risen to where basements are now being flooded, septic systems are overflowing and there is a real danger to fields being destroyed because of high salt content. The volume of water discharged into the artificial recharge systems in the South Platte basin has since increased, reaching over 350,000 acre feet in 2009. Fritzler said over the past two years he has spent over $50,000 in basement repairs because of the water damage. When he noticed several of the leach fields on houses he owns on his farm were beginning to overflow, he contacted Northern Colorado Geotech, which conducts soil and percolation testing. Doug Leafgren, president of the organization sent Fritzler a letter advising him they had been observing higher groundwater levels during their subsurface investigations in the county over the past 4 or 5 years.

While the farmers have been trying to get relief for years, their efforts have often been stymied by the large such as Boulder and Denver who often have high paid lawyers at taxpayer expense [ed. in Denver the lawyers are paid by Denver Water ratepayers] who have vigorously fought any attempt to even study the issue. “These lawyers are paid for by the taxpayer and we as farmers are fighting them by having to pay out of our own pocket for our legal expenses. There is no way we can compete with that,” Hoshiko said.

More groundwater coverage here.

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