Agriculture/Irrigation Information

With more than 90 percent of water used for agriculture/irrigation in the San Juan/Dolores River Basin, the following provides useful information and resources kindly supplied, in part, with permission from the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservation District:

Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance (DARCA)

DARCA is a membership organization for the benefit of all types of irrigation enterprises - ditch companies, reservoir companies, laterals, private ditches, and irrigation districts.  Membership is also open to interested individuals, professionals and government/corporate organizations. The DARCA mission is "to become the definitive resource for networking, education and advocacy" for our members.

Family Farm Alliance

The Family Farm Alliance is a powerful advocate for family farmers, ranchers, irrigation districts, and allied industries in seventeen Western states. The Alliance is focused on one mission - To ensure the availability of reliable, affordable irrigation water supplies to Western farmers and ranchers. The Family Farm Alliance is recognized as an authority on critical issues dealing with Western water policy.

Colorado State University Cooperative Extension

Provides technical information, publications and training in best management practices, irrigation, salinity, and water quality. State and regional water quality specialists provide unbiased, research-based information to address a variety of water issues in Colorado. Also, visit their extremely useful menu website link.

The Water Center

The Colorado Water Center brings together a rich history in water related education and research with diverse talent from 25 different departments at Colorado StateUniversity to form a group of educators and researchers interested in water resources.

Ag Water Conservation Clearinghouse

The Colorado Water Resources Reseearch Institute and the Northern Plains and Mountains Regional Water Program are currently developing an online regional and national clearinghouse of information, concerning agricultural water conservation, which highlights state of the art research and technology by international experts facing similar water constraints. The  Clearinghouse will ultimately provide current, science-based information on a wide variety of agricultural water conservation issues.

Two to four page articles on water resources related to Crops, Food and Nutrition, and Gardening.

Available resources provided by Cooperative Extension as well as related links to help the Colorado citizen deal with the current drought.

Sustainable Agriculture in Colorado

Created to find solutions to the growing challenges that face our Colorado farms and ranches. Programs such as water quality, value-added, and niche marketing are helping Colorado improve the local economy, communities, and their livelihoods.

There are vast potential savings opportunities from water conservation measures in ditches and canals servicing the world's food and livestock production. SmartDitch™ liners can increase water distribution in gravity-fed irrigation systems by as much as 90 percent - and at substantially lower costs than with alternative methods such as concrete or pipe.

Limited Irrigation Management

Full irrigation is the amount needed to achieve maximum yield; however, when irrigation water is insufficient to meet crop demand, limited irrigation management strategies should be considered. These strategies manage the limited water to achieve the highest possible economic return. Restrictions on water supply are the primary reasons for using limited irrigation management. These restrictions may come in the form of mandated water allocations, from both ground water and surface water supplies, low yielding wells, or drought conditions which decrease available surface water supplies.

The key management choices for dealing with insufficient irrigation supplies are to: 1) reduce irrigated acreage; 2) reduce amount of irrigation water applied to all acres; 3) substitute low-water requirement crops for high-water requirement crops; 4) delay irrigation until a critical water stage; and 5) manage soil moisture to capture precipitation.


Weather Station
Photo courtesy Dr. Mike Bartolo, PhD