From the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado, Rio Grande headwaters, more evidence that ag communities can overcome the groundwater tragedy of the commons:
ALAMOSA — For the second year in a row, water officials have seen a recovery in one of the aquifers that farmers lean on heavily in the San Luis Valley. The unconfined aquifer, which is the shallower of the valley’s two major groundwater bodies, saw its volume increase by 119,000 acre-feet.
That bump follows an increase of 71,000 acre-feet from the year before.
How’d they do this? Cally Carswell did a great piece a couple of years ago in High Country News explaining:
Instead of denying or ignoring the problem, farmers are facing the fact that agriculture has outgrown its water supply. They admit they must live within new limits, or perish. Determined to avoid state intervention, they’ve created an innovative irrigation market, charging themselves to pump and using that money to pay others to fallow their land. Thousands of acres have come out of production, and their sights are set on fallowing tens of thousands more.