- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) - Operators have shut down a well near Gilcrest that had been touted as a small first step in reducing the area’s high water table to protect farmers and ranchers on the Eastern Plains from flooding.

The well had been approved to run around the clock, pumping 1,300 gallons of groundwater a minute, in an effort to prevent further flooding of homes and farmland.

The plan went awry when state officials stepped in, citing Colorado’s strict water-use regulations, the Greeley Tribune reported (https://tinyurl.com/n6r29sf ).

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s water adviser, John Stulp, said the decision to shut off the well, which operated for just one day, stems from issues on how to account for the water entering the Union Ditch.

A bill aimed at providing emergency groundwater relief passed through the Colorado Legislature this year, but it will not provide funding for Gilcrest’s needs until July.

LaSalle-based farmer Glen Fritzler said the issue of high groundwater has only gotten worse because other area wells were shut down in 2006.

“We always worry. When is it going to get to the point that the work we’ve done is no longer sufficient?” Fritzler said.

He also expressed concern that in times of drought, farmers will be denied access to their wells. The debate has continued over how well pumping affects holders of senior water rights.

___

Information from: The Tribune of Greeley, Co, https://greeleytribune.com


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