Committee kills bill to fund groundwater for Pinal County farms

Pinal County cotton field. / Raquel Baranow / Flickr

 

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services | Arizona Capitol Times

A House panel quashed a bid Monday by Pinal County farmers to get the state funds they say they need to produce the extra water needed for the drought contingency plan.

HB 2590 would have advanced $20 million to irrigation districts to drill new wells and construct canals designed to deliver an additional 70,000 acre feet of water a year to the farms. That would partly make up the reduction in the amount of Colorado River water that is now delivered to the farms.

And Rep. David Cook, R-Globe, said the plan is for the money to be paid back once the districts get an anticipated grant from the federal government.

He said the cash is needed now because it’s hard to say how long it would take the feds to come up with the dollars. And Cook said the wells need to be pumping by 2022 to make up for lost water.

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