For buyers seeking smaller-acreage ranches under $1 millon with irrigation sufficient to keep meadows lush throughout the summer, water rights values are reaching levels that can make such ranches unobtainable. Because of Colorados fast-growing population and a healthy agricultural land market, water rights prices continue to rise, with no predicted end in sight. The 214-acre Little Cimarron Valley Ranch (LCVR) presents a unique opportunity for buyers to purchase a small-acreage, budget-friendly ranch and have use of senior water rights without paying the astronomical prices associated with traditional irrigated land. Thanks to a cutting-edge conservation partnership with the Colorado Water Trust, the owner of LCVR has shared use of 5.8125 cfs of senior water rights to irrigate 190+/- acres. From a practical perspective, this water rights agreement affects irrigation as it would if the ranch had deeded junior water rights: in normal and wetter-than-average precipitation years, the owners of LCVR can expect to irrigate either for the full season or a portion of the season prior to the water being called. Only in the driest of years can the owners expect to not irrigate, which could also be the case with deeded junior water rights. From a financial perspective, LCVRs 190 irrigated acres have been heavily discounted from what buyers would expect to pay for land irrigated by either junior or senior water rights. The owner of LCVR is able to enjoy the benefits of irrigated meadows and pastures, without having to pay the steep, sometimes budget-busting, prices that irrigated ground is currently fetching.
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