Ducey firm in belief cotton farming should continue in desert

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, right, chats with Gila River Gov. Stephen Rae Lewis Friday at the formal inauguration of a recharge product and cultural display on tribal grounds./Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer


By Howard Fischer /Capitol Media Services via PinalCentral

Gov. Doug Ducey said Friday he sees no reason for farmers to give up growing cotton in the desert, even with the ongoing drought situation.

Ducey told Capitol Media Services he believes there’s plenty of water for everyone. And he rejected any suggestion that Arizona needs to cut back on water for agricultural use – about 70 percent of what the state consumes now – if the state is continue to grow.

The governor’s comments came after he attended a ceremony on the Gila River Indian Community to formally inaugurate the tribe’s managed aquifer recharge project.

That project is related at least indirectly to the newly approved drought contingency plan. According to tribal officials, storing more water underground will allow it to not only replenish its aquifer and increase its reliance on pumped groundwater rather than rely on its allocation of water through the Central Arizona Project.

And that, in turn, allows the tribe to leave some of its allocation in Lake Mead, already anticipated to drop to a level next year that will reduce Arizona’s share of river water, to prevent the lake from dropping even further and triggering even more cuts.

Even without the drought, Arizona is in the desert. And the state averages only about eight inches of rain a year.




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