Colorado farming, ranching water ‘in the crosshairs’ as big reservoirs dwindle

Water experts to discuss role of agriculture in Colorado River puzzle

Can ag water save the Colorado River?

Staff Report

FRISCO — A new $11 million effort to keep water flowing in the Colorado River to Lake Powell could up the pressure on Colorado farmers and ranchers to sell or lease their water.

In fact, agriculture is in the crosshairs in Colorado, according to the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which represents western Colorado water interests. Low water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the key storage buckets on the Colorado — have prompted measures to put more water in the river.

The CRWCD’s annual water seminar (Sept. 19, Grand Junction) will focus on what that means for western Colorado, with panel discussions and presentations on ag efficiency, the worth of ag efficiency and how ag efficiency works with the chief goal of sustaining ag as a viable industry.

And western Colorado’s ag water use is closely linked with recreation and the environment, as water earmarked for irrigation on the Western Slope helps sustain flows throughout the Upper Colorado River Basin.

Brad Udall, director of a CU-Boulder natural resources think tank, will talk about how and why the Colorado River’s water is already over-allocated, and Jeff Lukas will present findings from a new state climate change report that projects significant global warming impacts to water resources.

The seminar’s featured special lunchtime speaker is Kevin Fedarko, author of the remarkable book “The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride Through the Grand Canyon.” Fedarko will discuss his book and his concerns over development plans for the Grand Canyon. To learn more and register, see the attached document or go the


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