A controversial Arizona Department of Water Resources rule modification, that some believe zaps the value out of area farmland, will get a second look.
At issue is a rule set to go into effect next year that gradually eliminates
extinguishment credits held by farmers.
Thursday, the Pinal Area Groundwater Users Advisory Council agreed to form a subcommittee to examine the plan, which aims to protect limited water supplies, and determine if it is equitable to farmers.
The water panel agreed to discuss a timeline for the new committee and
consideration of how many people should be appointed, scheduling those discussions for their next meeting.
Advisory council member David Snider said the state’s report on physically avail- able water supplies should be made avail- able before any decisions are made.
“I for one, want to know how much water we have before making decisions,” Snider said. “Because protecting the aquifer is part of the long-term concern of this GUAC and everyone who gets thirsty in this active management area.”
Extinguishment credits — also known as groundwater credits — may be sold by farmers in full or in part when farmland is retired, and used by buyers, usually developers, within the same management area.
But under ADWR’s rule, although growers may continue farming and do not lose their right to pump water, their credit allocation factors begin to drop next year, from 100 to 94 percent of the original amount. Ten years from now, the credits drop to 64 percent and by 2054, they hit zero.
Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents Farmers Against State Takings