Snow drought that hammered ski resorts now targets farmers

The dearth of snow that set back Colorado’s ski areas this winter is now taking its toll on farmers, KUSA-TV reports.

It could cost farmers millions of dollars and translate to higher prices for consumers.

Snow runoff traditionally fills up the ditches and ponds that farmers tap to irrigate crops. Not this year. The “terrible year” for ski resorts is translating to a lack of surface water for farmers who say their options for water are limited.

“It’s a huge issue. I consider water more valuable than gold,” Weld County farmer Glen Fritzler tells KUSA. “We can’t survive without it.”

Fritzler says his only option is well water, which has not been plentiful since the 2002 drought. “We cannot operate our wells like we have in the past or like we need to to grow out produce,” Fritzler says.

State Rep. Randy Fischer has sponsored a bill for a study to determine whether the use of well water by Weld County farmers would adversely affect others who depend on the supply. Fischer tells KUSA that if nothing is done with the bill during today’s legislative session, it will likely die.

That means there won’t be much hope for farmers. Fitzler says the cost of Colorado produce will likely go up and the cost to farmers could be in the millions.

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