Agriculture Drought Response

Published 11:26 - 08/25/2020 Updated 13:01 - 03/11/2021

In June 2020, Governor Polis activated Phase 2 of the State's Drought Mitigation and Response Plan which initiated the Drought Task Force and the Agriculture Impact Task Force. According to the Colorado State Drought Plan, the Agriculture Impact Task Force is tasked to conduct an initial assessment on physical and economic impacts and recommend opportunities for mitigation. Co-chaired by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Department of Agriculture, and Colorado State University Water Center, this representative team has pulled together a virtual drought tour concept in lieu of the widely valued 2018 in-person southwestern drought tour.

You can hear directly from producers and communities responding to the ongoing drought through this public engagement platform and a new interactive web report.

Explore the COLORADO DROUGHT STORY PROJECT at bit.ly/codroughtreport



To explore current conditions and active watering restrictions, visit the CWCB drought app, the US Drought Monitor for Colorado, or for more detail, the Colorado Climate Center's outlook maps.

The primary audience for drought impact reports and stories below are four interagency drought teams that collectively report to the legislators and Governor on recommended actions. Activity here is closely monitored by CWCB staff. Please note that all stories submitted will be part of the state's official record and subject to the Colorado Open Records Act.

Your participation can directly inform current and future statewide drought response efforts. Thank you for your willingness to engage!

In June 2020, Governor Polis activated Phase 2 of the State's Drought Mitigation and Response Plan which initiated the Drought Task Force and the Agriculture Impact Task Force. According to the Colorado State Drought Plan, the Agriculture Impact Task Force is tasked to conduct an initial assessment on physical and economic impacts and recommend opportunities for mitigation. Co-chaired by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Department of Agriculture, and Colorado State University Water Center, this representative team has pulled together a virtual drought tour concept in lieu of the widely valued 2018 in-person southwestern drought tour.

You can hear directly from producers and communities responding to the ongoing drought through this public engagement platform and a new interactive web report.

Explore the COLORADO DROUGHT STORY PROJECT at bit.ly/codroughtreport



To explore current conditions and active watering restrictions, visit the CWCB drought app, the US Drought Monitor for Colorado, or for more detail, the Colorado Climate Center's outlook maps.

The primary audience for drought impact reports and stories below are four interagency drought teams that collectively report to the legislators and Governor on recommended actions. Activity here is closely monitored by CWCB staff. Please note that all stories submitted will be part of the state's official record and subject to the Colorado Open Records Act.

Your participation can directly inform current and future statewide drought response efforts. Thank you for your willingness to engage!

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  • public safety dangers

    by jwalker, 8 months ago

    Two consecutive years without summer rainfall has completely eliminated flooding from the Hayden Pass burn scar in western Fremont County (upper Arkansas River), but is beginning to kill trees--all age juniper and mature 100-year plus pinyon. Red phase needles and increased surface fuel from needle cast means higher danger of wildfire spread, which has been off the charts with unprecedented downhill runs as late as November. Weeds also contributing to fuels. Last year it was acres of tumble mustard. This year was so dry the cheatgrass did not emerge and tumbleweed took over. Both of these weeds collect on roadside... Continue reading

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  • Drought hitting pause on our business

    by Harrisontopp, 9 months ago
    We operate orchards in Paonia and Hotchkiss, Colorado. We've developed a few stopgap measures for managing late season dry spells, but this year has hit us with so much force, we're scrambling to make a plan. We are in a phase of heavy planting and young trees are more susceptible to drought. It's imperative for our farms to get the ground planted and productive in the next 3-4 years, but if we see significant tree and crop losses because of our dry falls, we'll be in trouble. Planting costs per acre are significant, and we can only take so many... Continue reading

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  • Rainwater collection not happening

    by lee, 10 months ago
    We own 40 acres in rural Mesa County, and we collect all of our irrigation water from our roofs, and then store it underground. That has allowed us a vegetable garden, 10 fruit trees, and some native plantings. However, due to the extreme drought conditions (basically one rain event spring, summer and fall), we have been unable to collect anywhere near enough water for irrigation. We have to drive some distance for water that we haul home.

    In addition, we are volunteers with the BLM, helping to locate plants with enough seed to revegetate nearby burned areas. The sage plants... Continue reading

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  • 2002 Drought Reboot

    by SolidRock, 10 months ago

    2020 has brought Eight inches of Snow and .45" in May. Then dry, windy weather for three months until the first Sunday of August. That day brought 75 mph vertical winds and 2" hail. All the tree leaves and year old grass were pounded into the ground. The leaves came back half-way and then came the Arctic front and single digit wind chills.

    Still the NOAA records for our district states that we are at 70% to date. According to our personal records we are below 40% normal. When we checked the NOAA records we totaled the rainfall column and... Continue reading

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  • Destroying an ecosystem. A better way?

    by bill, 11 months ago

    I own a home that is along the North Fork of the Colorado River in Grand Lake, Colorado. I have lived there for over 20 years.


    During the week of July 15th, the river was drawn down to the point that any progress toward creating a viable river ecosystem was completely destroyed.


    I understand that water rights on this river can be executed by the owners of those rights. But, to see such a drastic draw down to the point that the river ecosystem is destroyed - is disheartening and I feel - unnecessary!


    Why can't the execution of the... Continue reading

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  • Paving Paradise

    by Timj Nolting, 11 months ago
    My homestead sits in Berthoud. A ten acre alfala crop streaches up the south side dam on Loveland Lake and Ditch Resivior. I am a Stockholder of one share of LLD water. At full capicity, when the lake is asessed in the spring, one Share of stock can be set to as much as 7 acre feet of water per share. This is water that can only be used for agriculture and the stockholders own the real property in where it sits. However, company bilaws are set that there is no possibility of a "majority" stock holder and that no... Continue reading
  • When do we call it something else?

    by DustinStein, 11 months ago

    I'm a first generation ranch manager in Mancos, CO. I currently manage a 1500 acre ranch, half of which is irrigated. I've been in the business for a decade and, in my 10 short years, have gotten whiplash from how extreme all of our weather events have become. In general, our trend has become little to no summer precipitation with no snow cover to several feet of snow cover in the winter. The 2019 spring runoff put the test to all of our diversion structures in the Mancos River but was followed by a total of just over half an... Continue reading

  • Still Average

    by PfzFarms, 11 months ago
    We farm a little over 2000 dryland acres in Northeast Colorado. Precipitation for the year has ranged between 5-7” which is less than half of average. Our early crops didn’t do well do to the heat but that is why we have so many crops in rotation, 15 different crops this year. The interesting part is the “warm” weather crops are doing well for the conditions. We are anticipating at least average yields for millet, sunflowers and dry beans and above average for corn . The use of soil health has made our land much more resilient, the crops can... Continue reading
  • A long concern about the environment in the state

    by consilience2, 11 months ago
    My family has been in the state for over a century. I have heard stories and seen much of the state in at least 3 water basins. A lot of my family has been engaged in agriculture. My involvement with agriculture has not been as deep but my interest in ecosystems has been lifelong. I have spent much of my life involved in biomedical research.


    I have been following science most of my life a believe we have local and global environmental problems. Aridification is certainly one that should concern us. It is strongly related to global warming which we... Continue reading