Arkansas River basin: ‘At its most basic level, well augmentation replaces…depletions in stream flow’ — Scott Lorenz


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Scott Lorenz):

Formed in 1995, [Arkansas Ground Users Association] is dedicated to keeping agriculture viable and vibrant in the Arkansas Basin. AGUA and other groups fulfill a key role in the Arkansas Basin by helping to meet the water needs of agriculture through their well-augmentation services.

Since the majority of well pumping in the Arkansas Basin is performed under relatively junior water rights, decreases in streamflow must be replaced to prevent negative impacts to senior water rights holders.

At its most basic level, well augmentation replaces these depletions in stream flow caused by our members’ pumping. Well augmentation provides a legal, cost-effective solution that allows farmers to continue using water when it otherwise would not be available to them. Well augmentation adds efficiency and flexibility to a river system already feeling the pressure of overuse. Water for well augmentation comes from a variety of sources: surface water removed from low-production farms and converted for augmentation use, water from the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, and the one that I find most interesting, water leased from cities to put back on the farm. That’s right, in a basin that is struggling with the concept of how or even if water should be removed from the farm for municipal use, we are swimming the other way.

We take excess water from local cities and deliver it to our members through our augmentation plans. This cycle of water from city to farm manifests itself literally in the fruits and vegetables sold at roadside stands and farmers markets throughout the area.

More groundwater coverage here.

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