By Ian James | Arizona Republic
Arizona’s top water regulator has endorsed a company’s proposal to take water from farmland near the Colorado River and sell it to the fast-growing Phoenix suburb of Queen Creek.
The plan, which still would require federal approval, has generated a heated debate about whether transferring water away from the farming community of Cibola could harm the local economy, and whether the deal would open the gates for more companies to buy land near the river with the sole aim of selling off the water for profit.
Town leaders in Queen Creek have said the deal would help them reduce reliance on groundwater and improve their long-term water supplies to help support growth. They’ve argued the water transfer would bring economic benefits and more tax revenues to the rural area and the state as a whole.