Some farmers to see increase in irrigation water rate

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. While the price of gas and other materials farmers use on a daily basis have gone up, irrigation water has stayed the same, until now.

The Grand Valley Water Users Association is raising its prices this year to fund improvement projects.

Users will find at least a 5% increase of their rate based on water usage in addition to a flat-$100 fee per user on their bill this month.

"Most of the concerns that we've had voiced in the last couple of days have been from the smaller users because the hundred dollars to them is a larger percentage than it is to someone else," said Mark Harris, general manager for the Grand Valley Water Users Association.

The Grand Valley Water Users Association is looking to replenish funds that were depleted with a $1 million renovation of the roller dam in the De Beque canyon.

The dam helps supply all of the Grand Valley with irrigation water.

"The question might be even from those that are in favor of it is, 'Did it have to all happen now?'" Harris said. "It's been my position that yes, it had to happen now. We needed to get back on firm ground."

Bills are due Jan. 1, but aren't considered overdue until Feb. 1, giving water users six weeks to gather up the extra money.

If users don't pay their bill, the association can shut off their water or put a lien on the property.

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