News Update!!: Mohave Valley, AZ: Community address their concerns and opposition towards a proposed sale to water rights and transfer by the Central Arizona Project.
A town hall meeting regarding Central Arizona Project water rights and transfer was held on Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 at the Mohave Valley Fire Department Station 81 in Mohave Valley, Arizona.
ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez was at the town hall meeting and broadcast live on Facebook the town hall meeting.
Over 80 people attended the town hall meeting that discussed a proposed sale to water rights to nearly 14,000 acre feet of water from farms in the Mohave Valley, Arizona to be use in the Phoenix, Arizona and Tucson, Arizona areas.
In September 2017, the Central Arizona Project’s governing board, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, approved the $34 million purchase of 7 farms in the Mohave Valley, Arizona area that come with about 13,900 total acre-feet of water rights.
An acre foot of water is the amount needed to cover an acre of farm land with about 326,000 gallons; roughly enough water to support 2 households for a year.
The Central Arizona Project wants to transfer 5,538 acre-feet of water from the Colorado River outside the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District each year through a rotational fallowing program.
Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto talked during the town hall meeting about what Mohave County officials have been doing in opposition to the proposed sale and water transfer what the community can do to stop the proposed sale.
Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto also talked about the impacts the proposed sale and water transfer will have on the community; taking away from the needs of the community, affect farming and community growth in the area, and creating a “dust bowl” environment.
Water from the Colorado River serves the needs to nearly 40 million people and is responsible for irrigating 3.5 million acres of farmland.
Mohave County Assessor Jeanne Kentch also spoke at the town hall meeting, explaining to the residents that the county would also bear the loss of property taxes on the properties if the sale between Water Purchase Investors and Central Arizona Project goes through.
“Any government-owned property is exempt from property taxes. Everything they end up buying we will not be able to collect property taxes on,” said Mohave County Assessor Jeanne Kentch.
The public also got to speak during the town hall meeting addressing their concern over the proposed sale and water transfer, saying that this is “our water” and it should stay here in our community.
People in the crowd demand more action to be done to stop the proposed sale and water transfer by officials.
Brad Hoover, who served as a board member of the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District until 2010, was in attendance and spoke during the town hall meeting.
“My feeling is that if the entity that bought the 7 parcels of land is in escrow for $34 million to sell 13,000 acre feet of water — well businessmen from New York are not going to buy that land if they can’t get that water for this transfer. I’m afraid they know something that we don’t know. My fear would be we don’t have a commitment from MVIDD. If the MVIDD board has said that they’ll rely on the existing resolution, they should just re-ratify it.”
In 1989, the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District passed a resolution that prohibits the transfer of contracted water outside of the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District boundaries.
In 2008, the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District revised the resolution.
But that resolution prohibiting the transfer of contracted water outside of the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District boundaries could be changed if the board votes to do so.
The Central Arizona Project’s governing board officials are saying that the sale of the 7 farm properties is contingent on modification of that resolution and want to close the deal by mid February 2018.
Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto told the crowd that she attended a meeting Tuesday morning and heard the Central Arizona Project asked the seller of the 7 farms – Water Property Investors, LLC, a private equity fund based in New York – to extend the due diligence period during escrow.
Questions were raised over a representative who sits on the board of the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District and is a representative of the Water Purchase Investors, who’s selling the land to Central Arizona Project Groundwater Replenishment District.
Some of the people in the crowd wondered if the representative was going to casts a vote on this issue, but Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto told the crowd that this representative has abstained himself from the issue and will not cast a vote on this matter.
Members of the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District must be farmers who own land and farm a minimum of 20 acres in the district and Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District registered voters.
There are at least 25 registered voters in the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District, which has 5 board members.
Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto encouraged those in attendance to keep writing letters or emailing their elected officials, stating their opposition to the proposed sale and water transfer.
“It’s the power of the people, the voice of the people and their concern about our life’s blood, our water and our community,” said Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto.
A list of contacts, which includes contacts for the Arizona Department of Water Resources (A.D.W.R.), the Central Arizona Water Conservation District (C.A.W.C.D.), and Arizona Governor Douglas A. Ducey, were passed out to those in attendance.
** The list of contacts has also been posted at the following Mohave County website address: **
Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto informed the crowd of an upcoming Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District Meeting being held at an undetermined location at 4:00pm MST on Thursday, January 4th, 2018.
When a location for the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District Meeting is decided, the public and news media will be notified about the meeting location.
After the town hall meeting, ZachNews talked with Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto about the proposed sale and water transfer as well as how this will affect people in Needles, California and what’s next in the process.
Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto tells ZachNews that they got support by the City of Needles opposing the proposed sale and water transfer.
The proposed sale and water transfer has already been met with opposition from Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City as well as from Mohave County Supervisors; all recently have passed resolutions objecting to the acquisition of water rights by Central Arizona Project and any movement of water outside the district.
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