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Alternative Transfer Methods—A Solution to Colorado's Water Crisis?

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With Colorado's population expected to almost double to 10 million by 2050, water planners along the Front Range, where most of the growth is expected to occur, are scrambling to find enough water to quench the thirst of this growing population. With agriculture accounting for 86 percent of the total amount of water diverted from Colorado's surface and groundwater sources, many people have their eye on farms as a possible solution to the looming water shortage. But the state's water plan identifies some alternatives to buy and dry and is encouraging farmers and municipalities to look for creative solutions to share this precious resource. These are typically temporary leases, but as part of our ongoing radio series Connecting the Drops, Maeve Conran reports on a recent landmark deal that sees one of these alternative transfer methods happen in perpetuity. 

 Little Thompson Farm web

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Alex Castinoweb
Alex Castino, a land agent with Larimer County's Engineering and Natural Resources Division. "The number one priority of this project for Larimer County was to ensure a viable farm in perpetuity." 
Little Thompson Farm web
The Little Thompson Farm near Berthoud in Northern Colorado is just over 200 acres. It was recently purchased by Larimer County with a view to keeping it as a working irrigated farm. The $8.4 million price tag was offset by a first of its kind permanent ATM agreement between Larimer County and the City of Broomfield. 
corn field web
Currently corn, alfalfa and sugar beets are grown by the farmer who leases the Little Thompson farm from Larimer County. The water shares being leased by Broomfield allow the municipality to use them during three dry years out of every 10. The rest of the time, the water stays on the farm. 

 

Connecting the Drops Partners

Connecting the Drops is a radio collaboration between Water Education Colorado and Colorado Community Radio Stations KGNU, KDNK and KRCC.


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