You can always tell when those who make the rules have no regard for the consequences.
WELD COUNTY, Colorado - Glenn Fritzler's family has been farming their 320 acres for 57 years. It is productive land that has helped them build their family. To succeed here, it took hard work, good soil and one thing they can't do without: water.
"Water to us is actually more valuable than gold," Fritzler said.
In recent years, that has not been a problem. Heavy snows and rains allowed Fritzler and other farmers in Weld County to irrigate their fields with surface water from the South Platte River. This year is different.
Because of the dry winter and spring the South Platte River is not flowing at a level to allow farmers, like Fritzler, to continue to use it as an irrigation source. Unless conditions change Fritzler will not receive any more above surface water for their crops.
"We have no surface water," Fritzler said. "We have an abundance of groundwater, but we do not have the permission to use it."
Fritzler and other farmers in Weld County want to use their wells to pump groundwater from the aquifers beneath their farms. They are being prevented from doing that by a 2006 Colorado Water Court ruling. In that ruling, the court said farmers, like Fritzler, are only allowed to pump a limited amount of groundwater. If farmers exceed their allotment of groundwater, they are charged $3,000 a day for each pump used.
(video at link)