After nearly ten months of evaluation, the Arizona Department of Water Resources has recommended that the Secretary of the Interior deny a proposed lease of the town of Quartzsite’s Colorado River allocation to the Central Arizona Water Conservation District.
On August 2, 2017, Quartzsite and the CAWCD submitted a request for consultation to the Department for the proposed lease to the District of its 1,070 acre-feet per year allocation. CAWCD is seeking the water to partially fulfill its statutory groundwater-replenishment obligations.
In his May 24 letter to Secretary Zinke, ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke said he recommended that the Interior Department deny the lease based on the fact that the allocation had never been put to a beneficial use, or “perfected” — a fundamental principle governing Arizona’s water law. As a result, the lease would be “inconsistent with the policies and laws of the State.”
“For that reason, the Department recommends that the United States deny the proposed lease if it is submitted for approval by Quartzsite and CAWCD,” wrote Buschatzke.