It has been reported that farmers in Colorado are likely to receive $160,000 in grants in an attempt to help them as they are facing water scarcity problems in the near future. It is state money that will be used to carry out research and there are a number of groups that will be involved so the farmers will not receive the funds directly.
The Water Preservation Partnership has requested the funds and it will be used over a two year period to find a solution to a big problem which is the rate of pumping.
It has been explained that the main supply comes from under 8 plains states and is the biggest fresh water supply in the country. The big problem is that there is little water going in and too much coming out. This is leading to fears that there will not be enough to water the crops that are in need of irrigation.
A Colorado State economist Chris Goemans has said that there are concerns, but uncertainty about a solution “what do we do and what happens if we do that?”
The fears are that if things stay the way they are then within 10 years wells will dry up. There have been concerns in Texas and Nebraska for some time, but the problem is clearly spreading now that Colorado has been added.
The good news in Colorado is that they have examples to look at and are not starting from scratch. There has been success in Kansas and that is the way they are going to go. There are 10 members of the partnership and while 8 of them are groundwater management districts and this makes sense as it is their farmers who are using in the region of 80% of the water.
It seems that the funding is coming from a number of sources with the state university putting in $48,000 and they have four projects in mind. Firstly there is the need to work out the relationship between production and water use over the next century and then they will take their findings to the farmers and tell them what they have found.
Next there will be surveys basically finding out what policies are preferred – one that caps usage and one that determines cost. Finally the figures will be used to make a recommendation.
It is believed that the state water board is supportive in principal of the University study.