If it hadn't been for the salts in the soils beneath his farm near Hotchkiss, Tom Kay (TK) likely would not have been able to fully irrigate his corn field this past summer. Because he has salty soils, TK was able to get government assistance to replace an old flood irrigation system with a center-pivot sprinkler system several years ago.
At the Sept. 12 regular meeting of the Orchard City Board of Trustees, the drought task force presented an update on its progress. Previously it created a list of categories for evaluating drought need.
After six weeks discussing drought condition indicators, the Orchard City drought task force is preparing to move to phase two of its plan. This phase will focus on developing guidelines for conserving and reducing water use should a drought be declared.
At the Aug. 21 meeting for the Orchard City drought task force, the agenda was to narrow down criteria for normal conditions in the previously established set of drought condition categories. These categories cover current springs and winter supply flow and demand, reservoir carry over, and moisture equivalencies.
Drought: a word that strikes worry into any farmer, garden enthusiast or lawn lover. For the Town of Orchard City, it's also a word meaning increased water rates, water conservation efforts and this year, a drought task force.
Although the town of Cedaredge board of trustees has been monitoring the current drought situation since last year when it was clear that winter snows were lagging, and although the trustees have been discussing the drought in public meetings and taking actions to convince citizens to conserve water and avoid using up water reserves, constituents attending the town's regular meeting on July 19 had their doubts about the town's efforts.
The Town of Orchard City has created a drought task force to develop a new drought policy for the future. An invitation to join the task force was sent to citizens last month as part of their water bill.
The Town of Cedaredge Board of Trustees met for a work session on Thursday, July 12. The work session was a discussion-only meeting with no action taken.
Tom Alvey, the Delta County representative on the Colorado River Water Conservation District (CRWCD) board, provided an update on CRWCD activities and water-related issues in Delta County to county commissioners Doug Atchley, Mark Roeber and Don Suppes at the commissioners July 2 meeting.
Alvey said the drought situation is very bad, as bad as Delta County has ever seen it.
As the Southwest keeps getting hotter and drier, people who rely on the Colorado River and its tributaries for their livelihoods are facing the prospect of having to make due with less water. The impacts of reduced supplies will play out differently in different parts of the basin, but they will touch everyone.
At last week's regular meeting the Orchard City Board of Trustees passed a resolution declaring a "critical water supply shortage by reason of drought and setting mandatory water conservation measures." The drought resolution and other water issues dominated the meeting.
The Cedaredge Board of Trustees will consider moving into Stage II drought restrictions at its Thursday, June 21, regular meeting. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. in the Grand Mesa Room of the Cedaredge Civic Center.
The Town of Paonia is asking residents to conserve water usage as the heat of summer arrives and a less than normal spring runoff ends.
At the June 12 board meeting town administrator Ken Knight told the trustees that the results of the drought are quickly becoming apparent.
The Town of Hotchkiss is exercising caution by instituting odd-even outdoor watering restrictions for the town's residents.
Public works director Mike Owens said he's been assured Leroux Creek water supplies are sufficient, even at 55 percent, but noted usage in early June jumped substantially.
In May, the US Department of Agriculture designated Delta and Montrose counties as primary disaster areas due to recent losses and damage caused by the ongoing drought.
In light of the ongoing dry conditions and the end of spring runoff, North Fork area municipalities are considering how best to address possible shortages.
Abnormal dryness, or drought, is currently affecting approximately 2.2 million people in Colorado, which is about 44 percent of the state's population. Utility customers within the Town of Cedaredge are part of that 44 percent.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Delta and Montrose counties in Colorado as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by a recent drought. The designation follows a similar announcement for Mesa County.
The Town of Cedaredge board of trustees met for a brief executive session and a longer work session on Thursday, May 10. The purpose of the executive session was stated as being "to determine positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations; and instructing negotiators."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Mesa and Otero counties in Colorado as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by a recent drought.
Farmers and ranchers in contiguous counties, including Delta County, also qualify for natural disaster assistance.
WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees recognizes that drought is a natural on-going situation in Colorado and a phenomenon that has recurred regularly throughout Colorado's history, and
WHEREAS, a Drought Response Plan was adopted with Resolution 12-2012 Sept. 20, 2012 and
Looking up at the Grand Mesa from Grand Junction in early April, it's good to see snow on its flanks. For too much of this past winter, they have been bare. Skiers felt the pain of the dry winter early; fish and ranchers will feel it this summer.
Western Colorado is facing an "epic" low water year, due to a relatively warm, dry winter. Snowpack in the Upper Gunnison Basin is at 63 percent of average. Grand Mesa is at less than 50 percent, with Surface Creek forecast with one of the lowest runoffs in the state.
On Feb. 8 the Cedaredge Board of Trustees held a special meeting and a work session. During the special meeting the trustees unanimously approved a proposal by Mayor Gene Welch to appoint all trustees -- excluding the mayor -- to serve as members of the town administrator application review committee.
It's been very dry in Colorado's mountains this fall. It's still early, and the snowpack could catch up to "normal," but when I flew over those mountains on Nov. 15, they were brown. Just the barest dusting of white covered the highest ridges and north-facing slopes.
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