Horizon: Water rights controversy continues

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Arizona Horizon guests Sarah Porter, Director of Arizona State University’s Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute, and Jim Holway, vice chair of the Central Arizona Project Board, discussed the controversy of the Colorado River delivering water to different parts of the state as excess water dwindles.

“Water is going to be one of the most valuable and sought-after natural resources," says Porter. "It’s becoming so. So they’re buying up water rights in hopes of making a profit... speculators bought up farming lands in Mojave County, and those lands have water rights attached to them.”

Holway says individuals are not allowed to subdivide land unless they can prove a reliable supply. This is due to the short water supply rules made in 1995. Around that same time, the legislature approved a groundwater replenishment district. The law states that if there was enough groundwater, the people who lived on the land can pump the water and join the district. The district would find a renewable source of water to replenish the area.

Porter says the assumption was there would be excess water for the replenishment district to rely on. However, central Arizona’s rapid growth coupled with an extended drought resulted in the water supply running low a decade earlier than predicted.

Porter predicts that the state is heading to a point where it will have to look at extreme measures that will bring in a new supply of water.

Running Time: 10:53

WATCH: Controversy continues with the Colorado River’s water delivery system