Water rights sales raise concerns in Arizona's small towns

Greenstone Resource Partners LLC sold water rights from Cibola, Arizona, to the Queen Creek suburb, sparking local fears and broader implications for water scarcity management.

Maanvi Singh reports for The Guardian.


In short:

  • Greenstone purchased nearly 500 acres in Cibola and later sold the water rights for a significant profit, redirecting water to Queen Creek, 200 miles away.
  • The transaction, conducted without a thorough environmental review, is now under legal scrutiny, with fears it sets a precedent for future large-scale water transfers.
  • Local residents and officials are alarmed, fearing this could lead to more agricultural land being sacrificed for urban water supplies.

Key quote:

"Here we are in the middle of a drought and trying to preserve the Colorado River, and we’re allowing water to be transferred off of the river."

— Regina Cobb, former state representative

Why this matters:

In regions where water scarcity is already a pressing issue, the commodification of water rights by private entities like Greenstone Resource Partners can worsen existing challenges. As these companies amass water rights, they gain significant control over access to water, potentially leading to price hikes and limited availability for local residents, farmers, and small businesses.

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