The Verde Ditch




Verde Ditch Map

The Verde Ditch aka Woods Ditch

This is the map provided by the Verde Ditch Company December 19, 2014 and explained at a meeting of members and interested parties on January 24, 2015.

Their website is excellent:

The Verde Ditch Update, including the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) the explanation of the determination of irrigation rights by the above map… showing the Green areas which are currently regarded as agreed-upon-with-SRP historical irrigation rights, the Purple areas which indicate historical irrigation rights, but not currently irrigated, and the Orange areas which show no historical data of rights but are being irrigated (such as meander lands).

Meander lands are created when a flood creates the cut-off of a meandering bend in the flow of a water-way and land is created.  Rechannelization.  Avulsion occurs.  See the definition and clipart in the Colorado River information from the Arizona State Land Department

In Arizona, water rights are determined by Prior Appropriation (NOT riparian law).  The determination of who first used the water on their land for beneficial purposes is most important and in 1974, the Salt River Project (SRP) among others filed petitions to determine who had rights to the river water.  The Gila River Adjudication is a federal lawsuit and the longest running one in the State of Arizona.

Most important to remember is that this is all about surface waters and sub-flow waters which are defined as the water contained within the “saturated floodplain Holocene alluvium,” the geologic formation consisting of sand, gravel and loose rock deposited in the river’s floodplain over the last 10,000 years, and not about groundwater which is contained in aquifers.

The Verde Ditch Commissioners have agreed to put the January 24th meeting’s powerpoint presentation, containing the timeline for meetings between January and August, on the Company’s website.  You can also sign up for updates.

This article is meant to get a reader to sources for greater understanding of Arizona’s water laws and water rights as they pertain to surface water adjudication.

Kathy Howe


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