Tensions rise over plan to sell Colorado River water

By Ian James | Arizona Republic

Mayors and county supervisors in towns along the Colorado River were already upset five months ago when the state water agency endorsed an investment company’s plan to take water from farmland near the river and sell it to a growing Phoenix suburb.

Now, they’re incensed that the agency, which initially suggested holding back a large portion of the water, changed its stance and will let the company sell most of the water to the town of Queen Creek.

Elected leaders in communities along the river say they intend to continue trying to stop the proposed deal, which would need to be approved by the federal Bureau of Reclamation. They argue that sending water away from rural communities to support growth in Arizona’s suburbs would threaten the agricultural economy and clear the way for a flurry of more “buy-and-dry” deals by investors seeking to profit from water.

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