From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Well associations have boosted the amount of water they intend to use, and a program to augment on-farm irrigation improvements is growing.
“We remain the only basin in Colorado that has regulated irrigation efficiencies,” [Steve] Witte said. “But in the years we have had it, we have increased the acreage in sprinklers and drip irrigation.”
Witte outlined enforcement actions in the Arkansas River basin, noting that violations of well regulations and breaching unsafe or illegal dams occupied his staff’s time last year. In addition, the Division of Water Resources is taking more of a consulting role in water court cases and filing statements of opposition “only if necessary.”
Last year, in 97 cases, the state filed just one statement of opposition, while settling 21 or 50 pending cases it was active in within Division 2, Witte said.
He also reviewed cannabis — hemp or marijuana — requests, noting that 69 growers, mostly in Pueblo County, had filed plans for water through his office.
About the only thing he wasn’t prepared to talk about: New rain barrel legislation that passed the Legislature this year.