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Top Story

To pay for groundwater, farmers cut use by a third

A new study suggests that self-imposed well-pumping fees can play an important role in managing droughts, incentivizing farmers to slash use by a third, plant less thirsty crops and water more efficiently. The study centered around a novel initiative in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, where several hundred farmers voted to self-impose a fee on groundwater--which is typically free and largely unregulated--beginning in 2011. The move came after a historic drought in 2002 and subsequent drier-than-average years left the region’s aquifer depleted and some farmers worried that the state might begin shutting down wells, as it had in other areas.

Visit Website | Image credit: Kelsey C. Cody, Environmental Studies Program, Colorado University-Boulder