CAN I STOP USING MY WATER ALLOCATION AND NOT LOSE IT?
Seek guidance. Consult agency or attorney.
Water rights in the Gila River are tied to the land and must be put “to a beneficial use.” According to ADWR, beneficial uses are: domestic (which includes the watering of gardens and lawns not exceeding one-half acre), municipal, irrigation, stock watering, water power, recreation, wildlife (including fish), non-recoverable water storage, and mining uses.
In order to maintain current water allocations, a majority of an appropriated volume needs to be used for one of the beneficial uses listed. If the land is left fallow (no water applied) for longer than five years, water rights can be subject to forfeiture. If it appears that the water rights holder has not beneficially used all or a portion of their right for such a period, they will be notified by the ADWR Director. Individuals are then afforded a hearing to show cause for why the right or portion of the right should not be revoked.
Through wording in the Globe Equity Decree, it may also be possible that your property is designated as “Then Being Irrigated” (TBI) land, which can allow for extended periods of minimal to no water application.
If interested in stopping water use, and not losing your water right, contact GVID to discuss if your property falls under the category of TBI.
Photo credits: (left) Picturing Gila Box Canyon; (Right) Gila Resources Information Project; BLM
For More Information, Contact:
Gila Water Commissioner
Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR)
602.771.8659 (Interstate Waters Division)
Gila Valley Irrigation District (GVID)
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