Pending change would retain Pinal farm water credits

Water flows in a local canal in Coolidge en route to a farm. /Photo: Joey Chenoweth/ Pinal Central.


By Heather Smathers | Pinal Central

Pinal County farmers will now be able to retain their water rights for future development thanks to a change at the state level.

A rule change is set to go into effect in October that will allow farmers to retain their water credits — essentially the amount of acre-feet they’re allocated each year. Although farmers have retained water rights for farming, those credits were set to diminish rapidly with respect to future development, harming farmers as well as future land prices, said Pinal County Supervisor Steve Miller, who long has championed the change.

Miller said the change is important because it allows landowners to keep their allotted number of acre-feet as along as they own the land. Another important change, he said, is that the credits now transfer within families, an important distinction to note because the current regulation doesn’t allow the transfer.


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