GREELEY, Colo. – Farmers in Colorado are watching their fields dry up amid one of the worst droughts in the state’s history.
But just a few feet beneath them, the water is so plentiful it’s flooding basements and causing septic systems to overflow.
Yet the government will not permit farmers to pump the water to save their crops.
With a lower-than-normal snowpack, farmers in northeastern Colorado who rely on the South Platte River are facing severe water shortages in which they are not able to even water some of their crops.
Dennis Hoshiko, a fourth-generation onion farmer with 2,500 acres, said he has let around 15 percent of his land sit fallow this season because of a lack of water.
“We have entire sections where the seeds were planted a month ago in dry earth, and they have not sprouted yet because they have not been watered.”
While it may seem to be a case of battling Mother Nature, the problem could be solved if government officials would simply flip a switch.
Many of the farmers have wells that draw groundwater for use in situations like this. But in 2006, the Colorado Supreme Court ordered 440 wells shut down and curtailed the pumping of another 1,000.