Queen Creek may have won a key battle for Colorado River water. But why is it so quiet?

Clyde Sharp, another one of our Yuma alfalfa farmers, along with a variety of other crops can attribute quality water, sun and soil to the high-quality hay our state grows.|| Arizona Farm Bureau 

Opinion: Last year, Queen Creek’s proposed Colorado River lease was the hottest water battle around. Now, things are eerily quiet. What changed?

By Joanna Allhands || TheArizona Republic

A swather cuts alfalfa, May 26, 2021, in a field near Cibola, Arizona. The land, owned by GSC Farm LLC, will sell and transfer the water to Queen Creek and the field will eventually go dry.

Weird. I didn’t feel the ground shake last week.

The U.S. Department of the Interior, which has the final say on these things, found no significant impact in transferring water from GSC Farm LLC in rural La Paz County to Queen Creek, where it will replenish groundwater pumping for development.

That means, unless rural communities decide to fight this further, the agreements will be drawn up, the farmland will be fallowed and the water it once used will travel some 200 miles away, perhaps as early as January, according to reporting from Axios Phoenix.

And yet, it’s all quiet on the Western front, as opponents decide their next moves.

What happened?  

Lease pitted urban against rural Arizona

This was once the most contentious water deal pending in Arizona.

Tensions were so high that when the Arizona Department of Water Resources revised its recommendation to allow the lease last year, multiple parties described it as “World War III.”

At issue was whether an investment firm could sell its lease to 2,033 acre-feet of fourth-priority Colorado River water, which Interior ultimately oversees. It’s not a lot of water, in the grand scheme of things, but on-river communities saw it as the camel’s nose under the tent.


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September 2022