“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Cortez in Montezuma County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Water Technology

Water Technology Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 10, 2020
1. Water Technology Marker
Inscription.  Over the last 150 years, technology to store water and deliver it to local farmland has continually changed and improved. Increasing efficiency, reducing salinity, applying water to uneven or elevated areas, and automating systems are among the goals of modern irrigation.

Flood irrigation was replaced by gated pipe, which was replaced by side roll and center pivot sprinklers.

On the smaller end of the spectrum, drip irrigation is replacing lawn sprinklers as water becomes more valuable with increasing population and development.

These efficiencies have allowed for the expansion of irrigated agriculture by 36,000 acres in Montezuma and Dolores Counties and provided a 50-year domestic supply for local communities.

Ute Mountain Ute Farm and Ranch Enterprise manages 7,700 irrigated acres planted in non-GMO corn, alfalfa, wheat and other crops, in addition to 700 head of cattle.

Located on tribal land at the toe of Sleeping Ute Mountain, the enterprise has produced high crop yields with less water using equipment like center pivot sprinklers.

To handle the scale, some center pivots extend
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more than 1300 feet from center to the last tower with 680 sprinklers installed on the line. Control equipment ensures that exactly the amount of water needed by the crop is delivered, measured by moisture and nutrient probes and in some cases operated remotely by mobile phone.

Top left: A massive underground tunnel measuring one mile long made water delivery possible from McPhee Reservoir.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureNative AmericansWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1870.
Location. 37° 20.878′ N, 108° 30.176′ W. Marker is near Cortez, Colorado, in Montezuma County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 160, ¼ mile west of Road 30.1, on the right when traveling east. Marker is located on the McElmo Creek Flume overlook. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Cortez CO 81321, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Greening the Valley (here, next to this marker); Water is Our Story (here, next to this marker); Preserving the McElmo Creek Flume (within shouting distance of this marker); Four Corners (approx. 3.3 miles away); Cortez (approx. 3.3 miles away); Southwest Survival (approx. 3.3 miles away); Mesa Verde Country
Water Technology Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 10, 2020
2. Water Technology Marker
Marker is on the right.
(approx. 3.3 miles away); Welcome to the San Juan Skyway (approx. 3.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cortez.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 23, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 97 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 23, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 1, 2023