WG&S: Water rights called into question

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Western Growers held a workshop on water rights and water use that included Grady Gammage Jr., senior fellow at ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

Gammage, representing Arizona interests, said the public is getting attuned to water use in a way that that they haven’t been before. People have awakened to the fact that in the West, 75-80 percent of all available water is going to agriculture. Despite the fact that they all drink and eat, that usage seems like an imbalance to them. So he thinks we are going to see an increased emphasis on trying to protect water for non–agricultural purposes, whether it’s urban or environmental purposes.  Gammage said the real message for agriculture is, “You need to get ahead of that.”

The drought, ravaging much of the West, is considered severe. It is testing the state’s complex system of laws and districts in unprecedented ways.

READ: Water rights? Is Change Inevitable?