Mohave County Protests Proposed Water Transfer

Mar 5, 2018

The managers of the Central Arizona Project want to purchase farmland in Mohave County and send the water to the suburbs of Phoenix and Tucson. Local communities oppose the transfer. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

Colorado River
Credit Arizona Department of Water Resources

The Central Arizona Project’s governing board approved the 34-million-dollar purchase of seven Mohave County farms. They come with nearly 14 thousand acre-feet of Colorado River water rights.

CAP wants to pay farmers to fallow their fields and send a portion of that water to central Arizona. Some new housing developments there are required by law to replenish their aquifers.  

Dennis Rule, CAP spokesperson, says, "So it’s not a net increase in water use, it’s really shifting some small amount of water from what is a current agricultural use into a use to support development, economic development, and growth within the central part of the state."

Local governments object to the water transfer, including Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu and Mohave County. Lois Wakimoto, Mohave County supervisor, says, "Forty-one thousand acre-feet of water is all the allocation that this area gets. We have no groundwater. And this would affect the growth of our community and its future forever."

The sale will only go forward if the Mohave County Irrigation and Drainage District changes a resolution that prevents this kind of water transfer. The district is expected to decide this week.