While it is common for agricultural areas in Colorado to be water-short, agricultural shortages represent a real need and opportunity for improvement. In addition, the YWG Basin is the only basin in the State projecting the addition of up to 14,805 irrigated acres. The analysis undertaken in the BIP seeks to better define the “ag gap” in the YWG Basin. This fits with the CWCB’s emphasis on extending the SWSI analysis to include agricultural, environmental, and recreational gaps to complement the M&I gap identified in previous studies.
Existing and proposed projects and other site-specific solutions will be matched with water availability to identify and recommend the most effective projects. An emphasis on multiple-purpose projects will be
carried throughout the analysis, where applicable. While the YWG BRT opposes the dry-up of agricultural land in the YWG Basin, it also recognizes the importance of private property rights in the successful operation of Colorado’s long-standing water rights system. Therefore, the YWG BRT is committed to encouraging the preservation of agriculture through any effective voluntary means. To further that goal, future education efforts of the YWG BRT may also focus on encouraging the preservation of agricultural land in the YWG Basin. Of particular interest are projects that can utilize senior agricultural water rights that may be at risk of abandonment.