Sep 27, 2010 3:52 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
The Pueblo Chieftain reports that deals transferring water out of agriculture eventually could dry up one-third of the historically irrigated land in the Arkansas River basin.
The newspaper says that transfers from 1950 to the present could take water off nearly 150,000 acres out of 450,000 historically irrigated acres in the basin.
Its study included losses through direct sales of water rights to communities, speculators or power companies; loss of storage once used by irrigators; or by decreases in well water use either through shutdowns or augmentation.
The study also reflected the ultimate outcome of water rights sales, rather than temporary leases to or from farms. Not all the water from the sales is being used yet.