SOURCE: AZ Central
DATE: December 28, 2018
SNIP: Farmers agreed in 2004 to give up their Ag Pool allotment by 2030. They began formulating a plan to use more groundwater but thought they’d still be able to supplement what they pump with other pools of Colorado River water. This water would become more expensive, the thinking went, but it would still be available.
That reality has changed – and rapidly so.
The Ag Pool water – and other sources farmers had hoped would lessen their reliance on groundwater – will evaporate under the proposed Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) once a shortage is declared on Lake Mead, likely in 2020.
That’s a decade earlier than farmers had expected.
There are demands for water that didn’t exist in the 1980s and a sole pot to fill them all.
Conflicts are sure to arise.
What’s more, farmers in the major irrigation districts say they are planning to fallow about 40 percent of their land in the short term to handle these sudden water cuts. The dust is sure to cause air-quality issues, though no one is sure to what extent.
It’s also likely that Pinal County will take a revenue hit, because unused land has less value than what’s farmed (and therefore would pay less in taxes). It would be even worse if fallowed land ends up in foreclosure, because then no taxes would be collected.
[It’s well worth reading the whole article. This is just a hint at the water wars in our future we are rapidly heading towards.]