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$1.9M invested for drought preparedness and mitigation across Colorado

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DENVER (KRDO) -- In effort to help agricultural industry mitigate the effects of drought conditions and improve water distribution systems, over $1.6 million from 21 competitive grants was awarded to agricultural businesses, tribal organizations, water management, and watershed improvement projects across Colorado.

“Water is life for Colorado. I’m thrilled that these grants sent much needed funds across our state to address the ongoing impacts of the drought and support our agricultural industry. I look forward to seeing the impact of these grants for years to come,” said Governor Jared Polis.

Many projects are supported because of the funds:

  • Weed treatment and reseeding in drought stricken areas.
  • Improvements to the infrastructure and efficiency of water diversion and ditch projects.
  • Improvements to grazing lands through a variety of methods that improve soil health and range condition.

“As we continue to face the effects of climate change, drought mitigation and resiliency tactics are becoming a daily consideration for farmers and ranchers across Colorado. These Drought Resiliency grants, funded with Colorado Comeback recovery funds, are helping producers, conservation districts, and ag water users across our state to improve their water infrastructure and prepare for ongoing drought,” said Les Owen, director of the Conservation Division for Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Competitive grants have funded over 100 projects involving irrigation, pasture, livestock distribution, or water diversion projects.

“Agriculture is the backbone of the San Luis Valley and it’s connected to the health of the Rio Grande and the aquifers. Funding from this grant has helped us improve the efficiency of the Billings Ditch diversion infrastructure, which means farmers along the Rio Grande will have more reliable access to water throughout the growing season,” said Emma Reesor, Executive Director of the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project in Monte Vista, which received $78,000 in grant funding. 

The Farmers Water Development Company received a $139,315 grant to repair the slip of the Gurley Reservoir Dam. Improvements to the reservoir will allow it to be at full capacity and support producers on Wright's Mesa.

Three of Colorado's Grazing Advisory Boards were awarded $75,000. Additionally, Colorado State University programs that include training on drought management, installation of soil moisture sensors to monitor agricultural drought, and expanding the WAVE program were awarded $144,985.

You can learn more about drought preparedness and mitigation by clicking here.

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