SB13-075: Promote Water Conservation Of Designated Ground Water

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Click here to read the bill SB13-075: Promote Water Conservation Of Designated Ground Water (Brophy/Sonneberg):

Here’s a report from Tony Rayl writing for The Yuma Pioneer. Here’s an excerpt:

On Wednesday, February 13th, Senate Bill 75 passed the Colorado Senate. The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Greg Brophy (R-Wray), would prevent any government organization from changing the amount of water a permit holder can draw from an aquifer based on conservation measures. This practice, Senator Brophy argues, encourages overconsumption.

“Something happened in the water permitting process that created an incentive to use the maximum amount of water that you possibly can on your farm,” Brophy stated. “What this bill is trying to do is remove the incentive to waste water and instead incentivize conservation.” To keep groundwater aquifers from being depleted, the state regulates how much water a permit holder can draw from an aquifer. The amount an individual is allowed to draw is based on how much water they have needed to water their crops in the past.

“When users try to conserve water, the state sees their water usage drop and sometimes lessens the amount of water they can use from then on,” argued Senator Brophy. “This encourages irrigators to waste water to avoid having their allowable water consumption amount permanently reduced.”

The bill would protect permitted consumptive use — in designated groundwater basins — as the floor for a permit in perpetuity and would prevent the reduction of pumping rates or annual volumetrics based on consumptive use after implementation of conservation measures.

More 2013 Colorado legislation coverage here.

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