Water: Taking From the Farm to Give to the City

February 2011

Since 2009, the number of farms in Colorado has declined by 100, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics data cited by the Associated Press, which notes an estimated 36,100 farms and ranches remain. Indeed, agriculture these days isn't an easy business. One of the major obstacles is water—specifically, the transfers that move it from farmland to the cities.

Governor John Hickenlooper's top water adviser, John Stulp, tells the Pueblo Chieftain he's concerned by the activity and is daunted by the fact that the state's population will double in the coming four decades. Colorado, he says, needs to incentivize people to move where water supplies are already located, rather than pump water out of areas where it has been traditionally in use. Meanwhile, the city of Boulder is looking at ways to regulate water during a drought, including restrictions on lawn watering, filling swimming pools, and even washing cars, reports the Daily Camera. The city plan would aim to cut water use by 40 percent during the most extreme times.