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Stop, Thief!

Someone's stealing Otero County's water. Who it is depends on where you live.

"We'll have to see how successful Otero County is at making this project a success," Leding says. "It involves a huge amount of money."

Nearly $280 million, Shioshita estimates, to keep all the water in the valley. He doesn't expect the county to come close to raising that kind of money, but he's hoping it can make a modest start in preserving agricultural lands. And despite a wary board, he says Otero County intends to ask GOCO for more funding in the future.

Water world: Aurora director of utilities Peter Binney.
Marc Suda/Suda Image
Water world: Aurora director of utilities Peter Binney.

"For us, it's our heritage," he says. "We have a lot of farmers here. Prices are the same as they were twenty years ago, but farming is in their blood."

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