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Gila diversion group facing ‘nightmare’ | Silver City Daily Press

“An agricultural economist has come up with a willingness-to-pay for water,” Domenici explained. “He’s come up with a figure around $340 per year, per acre-foot. If we can get the cost similar to what people would have to pay for water rights, that is what we have to get to.”

In order to afford even $340 per acre-foot water in the Cliff Gila Valley — and estimates for the diversion water go as high as $8,613 per acre-foot in “alternative B” — farmers would have to switch from growing alfalfa, for example, to farming high-value crops like pecans or lavender — or cannabis, a crop the Entity has discussed at prior meetings.

That affordability also assumes new farming activity, since existing farms are unlikely to buy expensive Entity water when they currently pay somewhere around $7 per acre-foot of water in ditch fees, or upward of only $20 per irrigated acre — a stark difference in price. At the $340 per acre-foot “willingness-to-pay” rate estimated in the BOR’s preliminary draft EIS, the per-irrigated-acre cost for Entity water would be about $1,000.

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Gila diversion group facing ‘nightmare’ | Silver City Daily Press.

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