October 25, 2013--Wolfe to irrigators: Comply or shut down (Valley Courier)

Colorado Division of Water Resources State Engineer Dick Wolfe and Deputy State Engineer Michael Sullivan reminded the large crowd attending a well rules advisory committee meeting on Thursday they mean business about implementing groundwater regulations. "You are going to get shut off," Wolfe responded to a question on Thursday about what will happen to irrigators who neither have an augmentation plan in place nor belong to an organized water management subdistrict after the grace period for the groundwater regulations is over. "That's the intent of the rules. We made it very clear. There are three options: groundwater management plan accepted by the court, like a sub-district ; augmentation plan; or you get shut off." Sullivan reiterated, "You form a sub-district , get an augmentation plan or you turn the wells off and go to Hawaii or wherever you go and quit irrigating." Although it has been two and a half years since the well rules advisory committee met, the timeline for state regulations of groundwater use in the Rio Grande Basin is now moving rapidly forward. Wolfe and Sullivan said they expect to have all the pieces of the rules in place in about six months. The rules would then be submitted to water court for approval. The groundwater rules will affect thousands of wells throughout the Rio Grande Basin, encompassing the San Luis Valley. Domestic wells are exempt, but most irrigation, commercial and municipal wells will be covered under the rules. 

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