Colorado Cattlemen's Association (CCA) has released a report summarizing the results of a survey of irrigated agricultural producers about leasing water. CCA's Ag Water NetWORK initiated the survey, which was conducted to better understand the interests, concerns and perspectives of agricultural water right holders about the topic of ag water right leasing.
The state water plan, released in November, 2015, estimates Colorado's population of 5.4 million could nearly double to 10 million by 2050. The plan estimates that the increased demand for water could result in the loss of as much as one-fourth of Colorado's irrigated agricultural land through the purchase and transfer of water rights from agriculture to urban areas. Such large-scale dry-up of irrigated agriculture would have permanent adverse economic, environmental and food security impacts.
To minimize 'buying and drying' of irrigated farmland, the water plan emphasizes water conservation, increased storage and temporary leasing of ag water as the means for closing the projected water supply/demand gap.
The report, entitled "2016 Ag Water Right Holder Survey Results," is available at http://coloradocattle.org/agwaternetwork.aspx.