Stulp Comments on Ark Basin Water and IBCC

John Stulp, Prowers County farmer and Director for the IBCC, Inter Basin Compact Committee, discussed the latest developments of the group, formed to address statewide water issues.  Stulp said, “There are a lot of things going on in the water arena.”   Representatives from the state’s nine water basins met this past March, and Stulp said a study is being formulated for consumptive and non-consumptive water uses and the needs of the basins.  He expects the study will be filed by the end of June.  Another meeting of the State Water Conservation Board is scheduled for September.

“It will take about three or more years to develop a water plan for the state,” Stulp said, as the statewide view also features an, “evolving product.”  He explained the Arkansas Basin has three segments, each with its own concerns, the director said.  The upper and the lower each have different, specific needs and are concerned with different water issues.  He said the meetings helped sort out and identify the long term needs for water use in the basin.  “There are some positives,” Stulp added, “the SDS project is starting to break ground for Colorado Springs and a pilot plan will be available in 2012 for the Super Ditch, including ideas for rotational fallowing.”  Stulp indicated that those plans will become more concrete in 2013.

Stulp said he’s aware of the pond study being done by Donnie McBee of the local Conservation District regarding augmentation from pivot usage.  Stulp said a lot of people are putting in pivots and the study will determine what the efficiency is of the center pivots, as well as return flows.  He said the most recent information shows that not as much augmentation water will be required as was thought earlier.  Stulp said McBee’s study is on the seepage out of the ponds, as farmers are putting their ditch water into the ponds before they run it through their sprinklers, attempting to determine how much loss there is before the farmers get to use the water.  He said that study, and the others are all part of the overall project. 

Earlier, Stulp had commented on concerns that because the state’s population is expected to almost double by mid century, the water use impact to farming operations will be paramount to maintaining an agricultural economy in this part of the state.  He added that the public also needs to be educated on how water usage and related costs will factor into their lives.

By Russ Baldwin

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