Unique Water Rights Deal

A growing Colorado community will get some of its water from a farm that will continue operating under a deal that’s believed to be the first of its kind in the state.

Larimer County commissioners voted Tuesday to sell and lease some of the water rights of a county-owned farm to the city and county of Broomfield for $3.7 million. The farm expects to still have enough water to grow corn and sugar beets in wet years.

Larimer County bought the farm last year for $8.4 million to keep it operating, with an eye toward entering into a water sharing deal.

The Colorado Water Plan encourages such deals as a way to prevent what’s known as “buy and dry” – when municipalities buy farmland just for the water, removing them from agricultural production.