Upper Big Sandy Ground Water
In 2005 the Upper Big Sandy GWMD commissioned Martin and Woods Engineering Firm to complete a comprehensive study of our aquifer in preparation for drafting a new set of regulations designed to preserve and protect the water resources of the District. Our aquifer recharges through rain fall and snow melt. During the last several years there have been only isolated recharge events. Yet water is continually drawn from the aquifer for irrigation, domestic, cattle watering, municipal, and other beneficial uses. The study concluded that the aquifer is "over appropriated". Which means that on average, more water was being depleted (used up) within the Basin than being recharged. Using the aquifer at the maximum permitted rate and with all other remaining water balance components remaining constant, would allow approximately 19-32 years of additional usable life of the aquifer. The study underscored the importance of drafting new regulations to preserve and protect our water resources.
In response to the study the Colorado Ground Water Commission closed the Basin for drilling new high capacity (irrigation, municipal) wells. In addition the UBSGWMD has worked over the past two years to draft new proposed regulations to restrict practices that would adversely impact the aquifer. There are 27 rules in the draft document, which would replace rules adopted in May of 1992. While all of the rules impact water use some of the more important ones concern exporting water from the District, metering high capacity wells, wells spacing, annual measurement and reporting, and protection of small capacity wells.
The District voted to Adopt a new set of Rules and Regulations on October 12, 2011