Denver Water has developed a drought management pilot program that will allow the Upper Colorado River system to send more water downstream, on behalf of the Bureau of Reclamation and the respective water districts -- Arizona, California and Nevada.
The Lower Basin states -- Arizona, California and Nevada -- cannot currently satisfy their water demands, but the pilot program has made Colorado's agricultural industry the target for the Lower Basin state's relief. The program suggests farmers could fallow more land, employ deficit irrigation techniques and plant crops that use less water, so more water can go to the Lower Basin states
The pilot will damage Colorado's agricultural industry, however. Fallowing will mean that fewer crops are produced in the state, for one. Second, the change to deficit irrigation can be difficult and result in lower yields. Lastly, crops require specific soils, locations, elevations and climate. Also, investments in the specific equipment each crop requires is huge. Changing crops can be costly and sometimes impossible. Plus, Colorado is dealing with its own drought, which has reduced agricultural production by 25% in the last year alone, which can harm not only the producers, but also the state's economy.