Drought Years Challenge Water Agreements between Cities and Ag Land

April 8, 2013
Fourth-generation farmer Kent Peppler will have a hard time securing irrigation water this year. The ongoing drought has forced cities to hold on to their supplies, which means Peppler will have to fallow some of his fields in Mead, Colo. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)Fourth-generation farmer Kent Peppler will have a hard time securing irrigation water this year. The ongoing drought has forced cities to hold on to their supplies, which means Peppler will have to fallow some of his fields in Mead, Colo. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)
Fourth-generation farmer Kent Peppler will have a hard time securing irrigation water this year. The ongoing drought has forced cities to hold on to their supplies, which means Peppler will have to fallow some of his fields in Mead, Colo. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

Farmers throughout the Great Plains are preparing for what could be a tough growing season. They’re scrambling to find irrigation water, made scarce by the region’s persistent drought. In eastern Colorado, thirsty cities have gobbled up water rights for decades, selling what they don’t need back to farmers. As KUNC and Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon reports, the agreement only works when water is plentiful.