Below average snowfall is continuing to affect communities across western Colorado and now farmers may be forced to change their growing season.
Due to the lower than average snow pack, the Uncompahgre Valley water Users Association has decided to delay the opening of the Gunnison Tunnel.
The association board says the tunnel won't be opened until April 1st at the earliest. With the current conditions, the water would only be starting at 50%. Those who've lived in the area say they can't remember it every being this low. Officials with the local co-op say these conditions will hit everyone hard.
“They may be able to do just as much but manage their water even more precisely, spend more time changing water and managing it. It’s going to make everything tight for anyone that's (agriculture) related. Period” said Kyle St. Jean of Producers Co-op.
Many pump contracts for rented water will also not be renewed this year. Notifications were sent out last week to hundreds of contract holders and the association says it will continue to monitor the water situation and update users.
Officials say it's going to be a struggle with water this year but growers need to work through it together.