01/17/2012 06:32 pm ET

San Luis Valley Drought Issues Surface As Mild Winters Deplete Aquifer

SAN PABLO — Water here is so scarce that farmers habitually gaze up at the mountains surrounding their valley — where overpumping from aquifers may force 80,000 irrigated acres out of production.

As Rose Medina traversed her ancestral lands last week, scanning the Sangre de Cristos for the promise of a strong spring runoff, she saw barely a dusting of snow.

"Looks like we'll need more," Medina said.

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