The state's courts have ruled that farmers who take water from underground wells must replace what they take, so that there's enough water left for holders of senior water rights. That's been difficult in dry conditions.
Weld County commissioners this month asked Hickenlooper to issue an executive order easing restrictions on pumping. Attorneys with the state attorney general's office said Monday Hickenlooper doesn't have that authority. They say Hickenlooper can suspend state rules but not judicial orders.
Weld County commissioners said Tuesday they disagree but understand Hickenlooper is in a tough position.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)