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DLM0658 Jim Yahn, manager for the North Sterling Irrigation District, walks over the water rushing down the outlet canal below the North Sterling Reservoir near Sterling, Colo. Tuesday July 3, 2007. Yahn said he measures and manages just about every drop of water used in the district very carefully, something he said well users did not do when they were allowed to pump."When they thought they needed water they simply turned on the pumps." Yahn said in dry years farmers in his district have to make due with what they have. Such was the case last year when the canal carrying water from North Sterling Reservoir was shut off Sept. 1, 2006, nearly a month early, because they ran out of water despite careful rationing all summer. Yahn estimates that the farmers in the district received about two thirds of their normal allotment of water. The reservoir depends on surface water from the South Platte River in order to fill so the district is one of many senior surface water right interests that has fought to keep the well users shut down since 2002. North Sterling Reservoir can store 74,590 acre feet of water that is used to irrigate about 34,000 acres of land for the North Sterling Irrigation District. The district just celebrated its 100th anniversary. (DARIN MCGREGOR/ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS) **Jim Yahn (cq)

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