are only pursuing the same goal as TRUMP to increase

…Today following the leadership of President Trump it is “acceptable” to demonize anyone who does not automatically surrender to our way of thinking… These farmers being demonized are only pursuing the same goal as TRUMP to increase their wealth…

Financial wealth is America’s holiest grail

New federal estimates suggest serious water shortages on the Colorado River are closer than thought. While Arizona water users try to cooperate on a conservation fix, one group of farmers stands in the way of a compromise.

SERIOUS WATER SHORTAGES on the Colorado River could be less than two years away, according to new federal estimates. Yet after 19 years of drought, just 500 farmers in one Arizona county may decide the fate of the entire Southwest: By holding tight to their own temporary water supply, they could stall a conservation plan designed to save the entire region from water shortages.

Pinal County, sandwiched between Phoenix and Tucson, is the third-largest farming county in Arizona and 54th in the nation, generating about $1 billion in annual sales, according to United States Department of Agriculture statistics. Beef cattle and milk generate more than half of that income, with cotton and alfalfa the next largest commodities.

Only about 540 farms in Pinal County depend on irrigation, according to the USDA. Those farmers can thank imported Colorado River water and the federal government for their success. Their irrigation water comes from the Central Arizona Project, a 336-mile canal completed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1993, which diverts a portion of the river’s flow deep into the Sonoran Desert.

Under a proposed drought contingency plan (DCP) aimed at saving Arizona residents from severe water shortages, Pinal County farmers could lose access to all their Colorado River water. If that happens, more than a third of the county’s 1.2million acres of farmland could be put out of production, said Pinal County farmer Dan Thelander.

He said they will fight to prevent that.

“That’s a pill we’re not going to swallow,” said Thelander, a board member of the Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District, one of the largest in Pinal County. “It would be a huge economic hardship if the county lost that much water.”

In reality, Pinal County farmers will lose that water anyway in just 12 years.

Under a 2004 settlement agreement, irrigation districts in the county agreed to give up permanent contracts for Colorado River water in return for temporary access at a steep discount. They pay only the energy cost of delivering the water, and none of the operations and maintenance costs for the Central Arizona Project, nor the capital cost and debt obligation to build it.

The discount has saved them more than $300 million so far. It has been paid for, in part, by a parcel tax levied by the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the entity that maintains the canal system. Every property owner in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties pays a property tax of 10 cents per $100 of assessed value to support maintenance and operation of the water system.

Southwest farmers face hard choices in drought

Water Deeply

For much of the Southwestern U.S., this past winter has marked one of the driest periods in recorded history. Population centers in the West have been relatively insulated from the disaster, protected by large reservoirs. But rural towns and the farmers and ranchers who populate them have been devastated. Now, some hope to sell out and retire, while others have already begun to look for new jobs.

READ MORE ►

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