Lawmaker, farmers make pitch for $20M for water plan

Eloy cotton farmer Tiffany Shedd puts in a plug for the effort by Rep. David Cook, left, to secure $20 million from the state to help Pinal County farmers drill new wells to replace Colorado River water. / Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer / Arizona Capitol Times

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services | Arizona Capitol Times

Insisting the state made a “commitment,” a Central Arizona lawmaker and farmers he represents is making a last-ditch pitch for $20 million in taxpayer dollars to drill new wells and water delivery canals.

Rep. David Cook, R-Globe, said Thursday the farmers in Pinal County agreed to give up their right to Colorado River water to help the state come up with a plan to deal with the drought. In exchange they were given the right to take additional water out of the ground.

That deal included $9 million from the state to cover the costs. And the farmers through their irrigation districts have come up with another $30 million.

But Cook said the project will exceed $50 million. And while the farmers hope to get the balance from a federal grant, that remains an open question at Congress.


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