Ranches for Sale in Colorado: Things to Know about Water Conservation
As a key asset in agricultural development, water plays an important role in Colorado’s economy. Without an adequate water supply, after all, it would be impossible to sustain operations in farms, ranches, and other agricultural facilities. Given that water is easily depleted, especially in view of climate change, conservation becomes a top priority for most farm and ranch owners.
Aspen Journalism reporter Brent Gardner-Smith discusses a drafted plan for the Colorado River Basin that proposes water preservation schemes for rivers, streams, and agricultural maintenance. The plan argues that policies for land use and for water use should be closely aligned to enable optimum conservation of these resources.
“As the plan notes, “water = tourism, recreation, sustainable ecosystem, agriculture and resource development.”
At a minimum, the draft “basin implementation plan,” or BIP, is full of compelling facts, figures, projections and projects. It also explores and explains broader themes and lists important projects in the Roaring Fork River watershed, including potential dams on upper Castle and Maroon creeks.
Agriculture uses 85 percent of the water diverted from rivers in Colorado, and the most senior water rights are usually tied to ag land.
The Colorado River Basin has 268,000 acres of land under irrigation, or 8 percent of the irrigated land in Colorado, resulting in a consumptive use of 584,000 acre-feet-per-year of water.”
The large-scale projects and state-wide policies may be implemented at a later time. For now, local ranchers need to devise ways to achieve conservation ideals. With effective policy implementation, these ranches not only can contribute to the state’s economy but also enhance their respective operations.
Those who own (or are looking to acquire) conservation ranches for sale in Colorado should also treat soil quality as a top priority. Porous and well-structured soil, among other things, facilitates water conservation efforts. Meanwhile, compost and manure application, tillage, and other soil management methods help boost the land’s water-holding capacity, infiltration, and other soil qualities.
Likewise, plant and livestock management require proper consideration. Using a fallow system (leaving land bare for a year to accumulate moisture), selecting plants that can tolerate drought, and crop rotation are good examples of practices that help conserve water. Meanwhile, grazing livestock can also be used to control invasive weeds that compete with crops.
Aside from listing ranches in Colorado for sale, companies like Mirr Ranch Group offer consultancy services for water utilization and development. Ranch owners can count on these experts for expert advice on irrigation systems, precipitation capturing mechanisms, and other such features.
(Source: Draft plan for state’s water future released, Aspen Journalism, May 26, 2014)