Tucson, Arizona 2021-09-21 01:13:33 –
As Arizona’s population continues to grow in record numbers, cities and towns that house transplants are looking for ways to increase their water supply.
The search fought the growing town of Queen Creek against a county along the Colorado River.
Cibora, Arizona, La Paz County is located on a river near the California border. According to La Paz County supervisor Holly Irwin, the population ranges from 250 to 350 depending on the time of year.
She said the river gives life to two major industries, recreation and agriculture in the town. Many of the farmlands in the area are supplied with water rights or a certain amount of water directly from rivers.
A few acres of land are owned by GSC Farm, and Greenstone, based in Phoenix, the parent company of GSC Farm, buys and sells water assets throughout the west.
Since 2018, the company has been working on a deal to sell 2083 acre-foot water rights to the town of Queen Creek, 200 miles away.
That amount of water can be supplied to up to 5,000 households.
Irwin believes that water should remain in La Paz County with land for potential future development and should not be used to supplement the Central Arizona community.
“Their claim is,’Oh, there’s a lot of water,'” do you know? Well, we also have the right to develop, “Erwin said.
Queen Creek, formerly an agricultural community, has nearly tripled its population since 2010 to about 70,000 and is growing, according to utility director Paul Gardner.
“This year, as we did last year, 2,000 new families will move to Queen Creek, and next year we will have another 2,000 new families,” Gardner told ABC15.
It is his job to make sure that they all have water.
Currently, most of the town’s water is pumped from the ground, but it is not naturally replaced at a long-lasting rate.
“We are looking for a renewable supply to complement our current groundwater pumping so that we can extend groundwater for 100 to 200, 300 years, and preferably forever,” Gardner said. Mr. says.
But eternity is exactly what Irwin is worried about. “It means that when you run out of water, you run out of water,” she said.
River counties such as Lapas, Yuma and Mojave officially said they set a precedent for companies to buy land to sell water rights, fearing that moving water would hinder the potential development of land. I am against the transfer.
See the county letter here:
Once you set that standard, no other standard will come in. There is another standard and another standard. Well, let’s say we have 20 to go ahead and do it? So what? “Irwin asked.
Through a lawyer, GSC Farm refused to comment on the story, but in a document jointly submitted by the company and Queen Creek, the proposal “is honestly in line with Arizona’s water laws and policies.” .. According to the document, GSC plans to develop 80 homes on land, and large-scale development was not realistic given the remote areas.
“Currently, the only access is through California-a one-lane bridge,” the document said. And to build a large number of homes, “you need a school system, public health services, sewers, police … you don’t need any,” the document said. Available or executable. “
The water transfer process requires public comments, a review from the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), and final approval from the US Department of Development.
After public comments were completed in September 2020 ADWR recommended forwarding. However, it is only about half of the amount requested, stating that “we need to retain water to help future housing development of real estate without adversely affecting other Colorado River users.”
And I changed my mind in January 2021.agency Increased the recommended value from 1078af / yr to 2033af / yr -Everything except 50 feet of what was originally requested.
The agency said it had received additional documentation from GSC on the development plan. According to supplementary documents, the company reduced the number of homes from the original 80 homes planned for farmland to 40, allowing additional water to move freely.
Queen Creek said that while it increased, its amount was less than two-tenth percent of the water available in the river.
“For us, I think it’s a very small move. For the river community, they feel it’s World War III,” Gardner said.
But he believes Queen Creek and ultimately the interests to the state are worth the fight.
“For over 100 years, that water supply we save will not only be 2,000 acre-foot a year, but 200,000 acre-foot of groundwater. It will remain in the watershed for future generations. There is no pump. “
Pioneer Bureau gets final decision After more public comments and environmental assessments.
“It’s my job to try to fight as hard as I can to make sure that water remains in our county so that it can continue to develop after I leave. “Irwin said.
Arizona counties, towns battle over Colorado River water rights Source link Arizona counties, towns battle over Colorado River water rights