Northern Colorado well adds value to land, cattle operation in water-scarce region
On Colorado’s arid, northeastern plains, a high-capacity water well promises to tap into a much-needed resource for local cattle and crop production.
The 1,500 foot-deep well outside Briggsdale, Colo., has been a long-term vision for the Mertens family and their ranching operation.
Through the engineering and legal support of Quantum Water & Environment and Hydro Resources, the years-long process for the well could wrap up as early as this December.
Rancher Jim Mertens explained that while expensive to take on as a property owner, the addition of the well could provide relief when water is short.
“We’ve been here since 1947. My mom and dad came and we’ve always been short on water, so we’re just trying to remedy that situation,” Mertens told Barn Media from the well site.
“The two big things are livestock and spraying. Our farming operation keeps expanding and right now we’re hauling basically all the spray water from Fort Morgan and we’d like to get those trucks off the road.”
Hydro Resources Drilling Manager Jasen Decker explained the high capacity of the Mertens well, a flooded, reverse-circulation, drill rig. The well has been engineered to optimize production from the property’s shale and sandstone-dominate ground structure.
“It’s actually a 150,000-pound rated, carrier-mounted rig. It’s a lot bigger than what you’ll typically see in your residential and your small-diameter stock well. It drills a lot larger a hole to accommodate bigger pipe and larger production wells,” Decker said.
To access the water beneath their property, the Mertens have also taken on the long process of adjudicating their resource through water court. While the well structure is already in place, the Mertens must still finish with legal proceedings.
Although a demanding and time-consuming process, legally settling water rights can pay off for property owners, explained Theresa Jehn-Dellaport, president of Quantum Water & Environment.
“This is extremely valuable and water in Colorado is only going to get more expensive. The sooner you adjudicate, the better off you are going to be,” Jehn-Dellaport said.
“The cost of drilling this type of well is pretty expensive but at least if you have the water adjudicated, you know you have that under your property, and it’s much more valuable to your property right if you ever wanted to sell.”
The Mertens are currently adjudicating more than 350 acre-feet of water under just a portion of their property, Jehn-Dellaport said. As current court proceedings wrap up, she anticipated further water development on the ranch’s remaining acreage.
Check out the documentary about drilling deep for water in northeastern Colorado in the Upper Pierre Aquifer featuring:
- Jim Mertens, farmer/rancher in New Raymer, CO,
- Theresa Jehn-Dellaport, President of Quantum Water & Enviroment
- Jasen Decker, Hydro Resources Drilling Manager
The video produced by SLY Media’s Kayla Young & Alvaro Serey and brought to you by The BARN, BARN Media & the Colorado Ag News Network.
To learn more about not only the Upper Pierre Aquifer but also the Upper Laramie Aquifer’s check out the EXCLUSIVE interviews with Theresa Jehn-Dellaport online inside the BARN (QWE Interview #1 – QWE Interview #2)
To learn more about Quantum Water & Environment – CLICK HERE
To learn more about Hydro Resources – CLICK HERE
Contact: Brian Allmer, The BARN / BARN Media
Kayla Young, Sly Media