By The Town of Queen Creek
The Town of Queen Creek has entered into a water rights purchase agreement that, once approved by state and federal officials, will diversify the Town’s water supply, providing a sustainable source of water to ensure long-term, generational access to water.
“The Town is committed to ensuring the sustainability of Queen Creek today and into the future – and this agreement is an important part of that commitment,” said Mayor Gail Barney. “Because we are such a young municipality, we haven’t had some of the renewable water resources available to other cities. This puts us on more equal footing and helps us move away from our long-term dependence on groundwater. This agreement will prevent nearly 200,000 acre feet of groundwater from being pumped over the next 100 years – benefiting current and future generations of Queen Creek and the region.”
The 2,088 acre-feet (AF) of water involved in the agreement is currently used for farming in the Cibola Valley area in La Paz County. The proposed transfer of water rights would increase the economic impact of this water. A recent study found the current annual economic impact of the farming use in La Paz County – a calculation involving jobs, wages and economic output – is approximately $1.2 million, with nearly all the benefit “leaking” to California. When the water is put to beneficial use in Queen Creek, the economic impact jumps to $307.7 million.
Because the deal involves the sale of rights to 4th Priority Colorado River Water, it must be approved by the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). To that end, an official Request for Consultation was filed today with ADWR. There will be ample opportunity for public comment during both the state and federal approval processes. The Request for Consultation is available on the Town’s website.
Once the deal is finalized and approvals are granted, it is anticipated the water will move via the Central Arizona Project Canal for delivery to Queen Creek.
 The term “acre-foot” refers to the amount of water necessary to cover one acre of surface area to a depth of one foot, and is a standard measurement.