Letter to the Editor: Will we have water to farm in 20 years?

Special Improvement District No. 1 of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District was created to conserve and stabilize the water supply within the subdistrict in 2007. The State Water Engineer allowed the subdistrict to be created and MANDATED that the Subdistrict #1 board would create rules to stabilize the underground aquifers.

The VARIABLE FEE is the most effective tool for reduction of pumping. This fee is charged for each acre foot of water pumped from the wells on each farm. It is offset by input of surface water.

Thanks to a severe drought and the horribly dry year of 2018, the subdisrict has failed. The board agreed to $90 per acre foot for 2019, an increase of $15 per acre foot. The majority of farmers will keep pumping their wells. No results. If the Rio Grande River floods this year, wonderful, but the water deficit is still there.

The subdistrict board might get re-elected for a longer term by people with no surface water. However, will the State Engineer allow politics to overcome his underground water reduction MANDATE?

The Rio Grande Canal puts more than 50 percent of the surface water from the Rio Grande into Subdistrict #1. What shall we do while the underground water is being pumped from under us?

17000 irrigated acres in Subdistrict #1 have no surface water.

Approximately 150 circles.

Average circle pumps 200 acre feet per year

Total — one year 30,000 acre feet.

40 years 1,200,000 acre feet.

OUR WATER SHORTAGE TODAY 1,200,000 acre feet.

Should these acres be paying a higher fee?

Will the subdistrict board do their job?

Will the State Engineer allow this?

I’m thinking — like the song — ma ma, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys (or farmers.)

Past subdistrict board member

Tom Corzine