From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Two meetings today will help test support for the Super Ditch. The Super Ditch board this month sent signup cards and information packets to shareholders on seven ditches in advance of the meetings, which are at 1 p.m. at the Gobin Community Building in Rocky Ford and at 6 p.m. at the Bowman Building at Lamar. The process will gauge interest among water rights owners for contracts with the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority and Aurora. While agreements have been signed, the specific water rights to be used in meeting supply have to be identified to satisfy legal and engineering requirements. The Bessemer, Catlin, Fort Lyon, High Line, Holbrook, Otero and Oxford ditch systems are eligible for participation…
The Lower Ark is seeking two grants from the Colorado Water Conservation Board for Super Ditch projects:
- $254,000 for engineering of delivery systems, including storage; the Lower Ark would match with $28,000.
- $28,000 to study long-term farm financial planning from temporary water transfers, with $3,000 from the Lower Ark.
The CWCB funds would come from $1.5 million which is available for studies of alternative projects to municipal purchases of water rights in agriculture.
[Colorado State University] is doing studies on farms owned by the Lower Ark district on the High Line and Holbrook canals to determine how much expense per acre farmers could expect during a lease. That would include the value of crops not grown and ground preparation. Part of the study mirrors corn test plot research at the CSU Arkansas Valley Research Center, but there is an additional economic component as well. Cabot is developing a spreadsheet tool that farmers could use to calculate whether a lease makes sense for them. The research also is looking at whether alternative crops that require less water, such as canola or sorghum, could be grown on irrigated ground as dryland crops during fallowing periods.
More coverage from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:
A group plan for irrigators that would allow them to comply with new state rules on surface irrigation in the Arkansas Valley was approved Wednesday. The Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District approved its plan 6-1 and will begin signing up farmers immediately in advance of Jan. 1, when the new rules take effect. Otero County Director Wayne Whittaker opposed the plan, saying it costs farmers too much and puts the Lower Ark district in a role that should belong to the state. “When we first discussed this, it was going to cost farmers $100 and we would just do the paperwork to submit to the division engineer,” Whittaker said.