[SUNDAY FEATURE] How Arizona’s drought plan will spread the pain to farms, cities, tribes, developers

CAP water flows next to a cantaloupe field near the Pinal County community of Maricopa./ Mike Christy /Arizona Daily Star 2018

 

By Tony Davis | Arizona Daily Star

“Everyone will feel pain” was the mantra emanating from supporters of Arizona’s drought plan for the Colorado River as it wound through the Legislature.

It is true that under the plan, now embedded in state law, the major water users served by the $4 billion Central Arizona Project — cities, tribes and farms — will all take a hit.

But some users will be hurt more, and some will be hurt sooner, than others. Cities will lose the least amount of water and those cuts will not be noticed by their customers.

Farms and the tribes will be hit harder, compared to the CAP supplies they get now from the Colorado River. But both groups will get compensation in return — groundwater well subsidies for farms and general financial compensation for the Gila River Indian Community.

And all three groups will get some cuts replaced with other water supplies for a few years after river shortages start.

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