U.S. Water News Online
PALISADE, Colo. -- Two of the Western Slope's largest
irrigation districts plan to cut how much they take from Green
Mountain Reservoir to stretch water supplies amid a fifth year of
Grand Valley Irrigation Co. and Orchard Mesa Irrigation District
intend to cut their take from the reservoir on the Colorado River so
they will have enough water to send farmers through the end of the
growing season in October.
Grand Valley Irrigation District manager Phil Bertrand said he
would do the same if he has to.
"I think it will be a shocker for people to realize we could
exhaust the historic (water supply) in Green Mountain by some time in
October," said Dick Proctor, Grand Valley Irrigation Co.'s manager.
"We're looking down the gun barrel of 2002 as far as flows," said
Scott Hummer, a state Division of Water Resources commissioner. "If
they weren't making releases from the reservoirs, there would hardly
be any water in the system at all."
The irrigation districts can by law call for more water from the
reservoir, but they fear their supply would run out before final
deliveries to winter wheat and fall barley fields.
"It's the next year's crop we're trying to save," Proctor said.
This is the third time in four years that water levels at the
federally-owned Green Mountain Reservoir have been low.
Under a deal with the federal government, Denver Water will have
to send 26,439 acre feet of water to the Western Slope. In wet years,
Denver Water can keep water in Dillon Reservoir that would normally
go to Green Mountain Reservoir, but, in dry years, it must reimburse
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