Saturday, June 03, 2006

Tough spring for farmers in the arid West

While they may not swelter in the humidity out west, the comfort comes at a price. Earlier this week state officials in Colorado refused to approve an emergency plan that would allow farmers on the state's Front Range to tap into wells to irrigate their crops. The well water comes fron an aquifer that feeds the South Platte River. Three area cities and farmers who depend on surface water fought against the emergency plan. The region has been suffering through a spring drought.

Farmers who sought to tap the wells say they have already lost large chunks of this year's crops. Farmers who do not use the well say they have also suffered greatly from the dry spell and want to prevent a further drop in the South Platte's flow. To aid farmers, water has been brought into the region from cities on Colorado's Western Slope.

I hope things work out in the end. If you ever travel out west, you realize just how dry the entire region is. Sometimes we only associate the arid weather with places like Arizona, Vegas or Death Valley. From western Texas all the way up to eastern Washington it's one vast area of dry climate. A period of drought means much more than a brown lawn.

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