Weld Declares Drought Disaster
In response to dry conditions and low stream flows, Weld County Commissioners this week declared a drought disaster in the county. They hoped to convince Gov. Hickenlooper to approve pumping from shuttered wells as a way to cope with the drought. Weld Commissioner Sean Conway said if Hickenlooper can turn the wells on for 30 days, the county should be able to make it to the “monsoonal” rains in August.
However during a meeting with Weld County commissioners Tuesday morning, Hickenlooper said he doesn’t have the authority to allow curtailed groundwater wells in Weld County to pump out of priority. Hickenlooper said that, according to the state’s attorney general, he lacks the power to override the prior-appropriations system that’s been in place in Colorado for more than 100 years.
“I lobbied as hard as I could,” Hickenlooper said to Weld County commissioners. “But this is a complex issue.”