Crops die as gov't blocks wells . . . Big Brother refuses to allow citizens to rescue harvest
GREELEY, Colo. – Farmers in Colorado are watching their fields dry up amid one of the worst droughts in the state’s history.
Yet the government will not permit farmers to pump the water to save their crops.
Many of the farmers have wells that draw groundwater for use in situations like this. But in 2006, the Colorado Supreme Court ordered 440 wells shut down and curtailed the pumping of another 1,000.
Under long-established Colorado water doctrine, water is distributed under the principle of first in use, first in right whereby prior users have senior rights to junior users. The decision to shut down the wells came about during a historic drought in the early 2000s that caused water in the South Platte River to become scarce.
Senior right holders such as the cities of Boulder, Centennial, Highlands Ranch and Sterling, which had experienced phenomenal growth in the 1990s, became concerned their water supply in the river basin was being depleted by junior water-right well owners who were pumping water from the Alluvium Aquifer, which flows into the South Platte River Basin.
Following the shutdowns, the volume of water discharged into the artificial recharge systems in the South Platte Basin has increased, reaching more than 350,000 acre-feet in 2009. The increase in ground water has now come to the point where local basements are being flooded, causing damage to the homes.
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