From The Cortez Journal (Jim Mimiaga):
State and federal programs offer drought assistance, emergency loans
The order passed by the Montezuma County Board of County Commissioners on June 1 says the purpose “is to activate the response and recovery aspects of any and all applicable local and interjurisdictional disaster emergency plans, and to authorize the furnishing of aid and assistance under such plans.”
Recent winters in Southwest Colorado have seen below-average snowpack, and a lack of monsoonal rains has depleted soil moisture. The lack of precipitation has left reservoirs unfilled this year, a devastating impact for the agricultural economy…
McPhee Reservoir irrigators will receive just 5% to 10% of their normal allocation this year, leaving thousands of acres fallow.
Montezuma County has only had one good snow season (2018-19) in the past four years and has had dry summers, said Peter Goble, drought specialist with the Colorado Climate Center, during a meeting with county officials…
The disaster status opens up emergency assistance programs from county, state and federal agencies. It also helps the Dolores Water Conservancy District receive drought assistance from the Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the infrastructure of McPhee Reservoir and its canals.
In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 63 Colorado counties primary natural disaster areas because of the severe drought conditions.
Emergency loans are available for producers. The loans can be used to replace equipment or livestock, reorganize the farm operation and refinance certain debts.
Colorado State University Agriculture Extension provides education and connects farmers and ranchers with resources for drought management and assistance, said Greg Felsen, Montezuma County director and extension agent.
The forecast for a summer monsoon is not favorable for Southwest Colorado, according to the National Weather Service.
Dry conditions are predicted for June, July and August, according to the National Weather Service meteorologist Megan Stackhouse.