Verde Ditch agreements
SRP is working with Verde Valley landowners on an innovative approach to identify and recognize early water uses from the Verde Valley ditches.
The effort serves not only to provide ditch users with greater certainty about their access to Verde River water, but also to give future land buyers confidence about those uses.
Approximately 90% of the lands served by irrigation ditches in the Verde Valley are broadly accepted by SRP; however, in some areas, the use of ditch water has expanded over time to lands where there is no evidence of historic water use (water use on lands prior to the 1919 Arizona Water Code).
SRP has been working with ditch organizations since 2005 to map the disputed areas and identify solutions. Several public meetings have taken place and information is being shared with the ditch companies and the landowners affected.
The new approach involves working directly with ditch users to voluntarily recognize those historic water uses and fix problems where they exist.
Ditch users play a critical role in this effort, in part because they may possess information about existing and historical water use on their lands.
When agreements between SRP and landowners are reached, they will be recorded, providing assurance to future landowners that SRP recognizes certain evidence of the property owner’s historic water use.
It is hoped that these agreements can prevent costly, lengthy litigation in the future over disputed water claims. The agreements also help to protect the rights of downstream users, including SRP and its shareholders.